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Precordial Catch Syndrome

What is precordial catch syndrome?

It is a type of chest pain that occurs when the nerves in the front part of the chest are aggravated.

It may sound serious but in reality, it causes no harm. It usually happens in children and adolescents. Precordial catch syndrome PCS is popular by the name Texidor’s twinge. Precordial catch syndrome in adults is less common. (1, 2)

An adult patient with what seems to be a precordial catch syndrome. Although, PCS is rare in adult patients.image

Photo 1: An adult patient with what seems to be a precordial catch syndrome. Although, PCS is rare in adult patients.
Picture Source: health-benefits-of.net

A Texidor’s Twinge or also known as precordial catch syndrome.photo

Image 2: A Texidor’s Twinge or also known as precordial catch syndrome.
Photo Source: www.epainassist.com

Symptoms and Signs

  • Extremely intense sharp pain at the left side of the chest
  • The pain is worst when taking breaths
  • The pain lasts for 30 seconds to 3 minutes
  • The pain resolves quickly and completely in most cases
  • The pain is sudden, especially when the child is at rest
  • The pain is localized
  • The frequency varies from one patient to another
  • The pain can appear daily or multiple episodes a day (2, 3, 4)

Is precordial catch syndrome common?

How common is precordial catch syndrome? It is common in children and adolescents. It rarely affects adults. Precordial catch syndrome can affect people of any age. However, the prevalence is higher in children and adolescents than in adults. People aged 6 years old to 12 years old are commonly affected. (4)

What causes precordial catch syndrome?

The exact cause of precordial catch syndrome is still unknown up to this time. One thing is clear though. It is not related to heart or lung problems. Many doctors associate precordial catch syndrome with irritation of the nerves that line the lungs (pleura).

It could also be associated with pain in the cartilage and ribs. There are various reasons why the nerve gets irritated such as poor posture, injury to the chest, and growth spurt. Nerve irritation is linked with pinching of the nerve, which could be caused by spasm of the intercostal muscle fibers. Precordial catch syndrome is also linked with stress and anxiety. (4, 5)

Let us take a look at in detail the circumstances that could lead to precordial catch syndrome:

  • Injury – an injury that could lead to damage of the chest muscles increases the possibility of precordial catch syndrome.
  • Costochondritis – It is the inflammation of the joint, specifically between the ribs and the sternum.
  • Anxiety and stress – it causes muscle cramps, especially in the intercostal muscles thereby causing precordial catch syndrome.
  • Respiratory disease – Those patients with lung-related disease have trouble breathing. Precordial catch syndrome is one of the clinical manifestations.
  • Eating unhealthy foods – The types of foods the patient eats can trigger precordial catch syndrome. (5, 6, 7)

What is the difference between precordial catch syndrome and heart attack?

Precordial Catch Syndrome

  • The chest pain is localized and non-radiating.
  • The pain is relieved in a few minutes.
  • The pain is not associated with other symptoms.
  • The ECG reading is normal. (7, 8)

Heart Attack

  • The chest pain radiates to the left shoulder, arm, and jaw.
  • The pain is persistent and severe in nature.
  • The pain is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, excessive sweating, and giddiness.
  • There is an abnormal change in the ECG result. (8)

How is precordial catch syndrome diagnosed?

If your child complains of chest pain of unexplained origin, the best thing to do is to consult your doctor right away. This is to detect the root cause of the problem. If it is caused by a heart or lung disease, at least it could be detected earlier. Always remember that a medical condition is easy to treat if it is diagnosed at an early stage.

You should immediately see your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness
  • Extreme headache
  • Shortness of breath

Chest pain accompanied by the symptoms mentioned above could be a possible heart attack or heart-related disease. On the doctor’s visit, the doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination and at the same time take out the patient’s past medical and past surgical history.

The doctor will rule out problems of the heart and/or lungs. The doctor will ask circumstances that taken place before the chest pain including when the symptoms began, the duration of the pain, characteristics of the pain, frequency of the chest pain, and whether or not there are other clinical manifestations.

The doctor will take out the patient’s vital signs, especially the pulse and blood pressure. Additional lab work and diagnostic procedure will be requested if the doctor is suspecting heart problems. (8, 9, 10)

What are the possible complications?

Precordial catch syndrome usually does not lead to other health conditions. It could somehow cause alarm and anxiety not only to the patient but to their significant others too. It is a must to discuss everything with your doctor, especially if you have been experiencing chest pain periodically. (2, 4)

Precordial catch syndrome treatment?

How to get rid of precordial catch syndrome? Ideally, there is no treatment for precordial catch syndrome. The doctor’s approach is to alleviate the signs and symptoms of the condition. Doctors usually prescribe pain reliever. In fact, you can even buy over the counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen.

Sometimes, pain reliever is no longer necessary to make the pain disappear. Some patients experience chest pain relief by doing slow gentle breathing. (3)

How to prevent precordial catch syndrome?

  • To prevent future episode of precordial catch syndrome, the patient is strongly advised to sit up properly. Do not hunch over while sitting.
  • The patient should stand straight with shoulders back.

Precordial catch syndrome causes discomfort, but fortunately, t is not a life-threatening condition. It does not require treatment or medication. There are instances when the doctor prescribes drugs so as to alleviate the discomfort of the patient.

However, chest pain should not be taken lightly. It is important to consult your doctor to properly diagnose the condition of the patient. It could be a precordial catch syndrome, but it could also be an underlying serious medical condition. So, might as well consult the doctor to come up with the right diagnosis. (5, 6, 10)


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org
  2. www.healthline.com
  3. www.precordialcatchsyndrome.com
  4. www.physio-pedia.com
  5. www.foodpyramid.com
  6. https://syndromespedia.com
  7. https://emedicalhub.com
  8. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  9. https://flowpsychology.com
  10. Fundamentals of Pediatric Cardiology By David J. Driscoll

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