Pediatric Chest Pain: A Review of Diagnostic Tools in the Pediatric Emergency Department

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pediatric chest pain is a common chief complaint in the emergency department. Not surprisingly, children with chest pain are usually brought to the emergency department by their parents out of fear of heart disease. However, chest pain in the pediatric population is generally a benign disease. In this review, we have identified musculoskeletal pain as the most prevalent etiology of chest pain in the pediatric population, accounting for 38.7–86.3% of cases, followed by pulmonary (1.8–12.8%), gastrointestinal (0.3–9.3%), psychogenic (5.1–83.6%), and cardiac chest pain (0.3–8.0%). Various diagnostic procedures are commonly used in the emergency department for cardiac chest pain, including electrocardiogram (ECG), chest radiography, cardiac troponin examination, and echocardiography. However, these examinations demonstrate limited sensitivity in identifying cardiac etiologies, with sensitivities ranging from 0 to 17.8% for ECG and 11.0 to 17.2% for chest radiography. To avoid the overuse of these diagnostic tools, a well-designed standardized algorithm for pediatric chest pain could decrease unnecessary examination without missing severe diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number526
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • chest pain
  • diagnosis
  • echocardiography
  • electrocardiogram
  • pediatric chest pain
  • ultrasound
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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