Acute pleuritic chest pain

S Rashford
Australian Family Physician 2001, 30 (9): 841-6

BACKGROUND: The differential diagnosis of acute pleuritic chest pain is large and includes a number of life threatening conditions. Clinical suspicion plays a major role in the choice of investigation and the interpretation of the results.

OBJECTIVE: To outline the clinical features and diagnostic workup of three acute causes of pleuritic chest pain--acute pulmonary embolism, pneumothorax and acute pericarditis.

DISCUSSION: The general practitioner plays an important role in the initiation of the investigative pathway for these conditions. Appropriate referral for ongoing assessment and care requires the primary care physician to be aware of the available investigations and their limitations.

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