Jul, 14
Dr. Nicolas Madsen

About the Author Dr. Nicolas Madsen

Nicolas Madsen, MD, is a cardiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute, with special interest in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. He is focused on research and community outreach programs to find better ways to screen and educate children and adolescents regarding their risks for heart disease or sudden cardiac arrest.


  1. Hi, I have been struggling with my nineteen year old daughter for months with severe chest pain, and fatigue. she gets winded when walking up and down stairs, and can’t catch her breath after a mile run. She has seen a cardiologist, and a pulmonologist, both of whom have said her heart and lungs are healthy, and no asthma, yet the pain and breathing difficulties persist. Now, she is complaining of tenderness in the area of her spleen. She has had recent blood work, and all is normal. To my knowledge she abstains from drugs and alcohol, and does not smoke. She is not a complainer, and has run 25 miles on a broken ankle, only complaining of some pain….. I am at my wits end. I don’t know were else to turn. Last night she called crying begging me to help make the pain stop. Any suggestions??

    heid - September 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm Reply
  2. My ten year old daughter for last 2 years has complained of chest hurting. This acquires at no given notice just occurs out of the blue. Her father had WPW and a great grandma with Huntington Disease. She was born early due to heart rate very low and under stress, so had an emergency C-section. I am wondering if she may have something wrong or if this is something not to worry about.


    HEATHER - October 30, 2014 at 5:43 pm Reply
  3. My daugther is 8 and she complains about bothe of her ribs hurting what can it be

    nayely - November 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm Reply
  4. Hi my 8 year old daughter has been waking up at night complaining of chest pain it doesn’t last very long because she falls back to sleep pretty quick. This happens about 3 times a night. Her last check up I was told she was a little over weight. Should I be very concerned?

    Melissa - November 9, 2014 at 1:16 am Reply
  5. Dr.,
    Our 8 year old son has complained a few times over the past year about his “heart hurting” when he runs a lot. (Happened at recess a few times i know of) Just recently he has been practicing for a basketball team the past (3) Sundays in a row. EACH time at the end of practice when they would do a scrimmage he would grab his chest toward the end and hold back tears. He is the kind of child that refuses to cry in front of people if at all possible too. He tells me that it feels like somebody is “Squeezing his heart behind his chest” I have felt the heart beat and it did not seem to be beating too fast. Powerful yes but that seemed normal to me due to he has been running back and forth non stop. He does NOT cough. The pain goes away about 10 minutes or so after he stops the running. The only time he complains about he pain is when he is severely active. I just set up a DR appointment with his pediatrician this week but found this site and wanted your thoughts if you would be so kind as to reply. Thank you in advance,

    Chris Russell - November 11, 2014 at 3:08 pm Reply
  6. my 11yr old son has been complaing of pain in his heart for the past 3 days since having the flue jab.they come and go regular even when he is just resting.he was playing on his xbox this evening when he had a sudden sharp pain,he paused his game and had a few tears .he has type1 diabetes so not sure what to do as he seems fine inbetween .

    Heather Clouston - November 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm Reply
  7. My son is 6 years young he has been complaining of his heart hurting as you stated. We will be watching a movie for example and then he will start to cry for he Is in pain. I will feel his chest and it beats pretty hard and fast. Is this common

    Brittany Coll - November 19, 2014 at 6:53 pm Reply
  8. My son is eleven, yesterday while sitting down he had a sharp pain down his left arm and wrist that brought him to tears……tonight he woke up complaining if sharp pains in his chest and that his left wrist and leg were hurting…i am going to be scheduling an appt with his doctor in the morning but am wondering in the meantime what that cld be from or if it is normal as well for his age at times…..thank you

    Rebecca Luper - November 19, 2014 at 11:09 pm Reply
  9. my granddaughter has had chest pains when she runs for 4 years. The heart Drs say that she her heart is find. She is 10 years old, she wants to play sports but if this keep up I don’t know if she can. Please can you tell us what to do? Heart problems runs really high on my side of the family.

    Teresa Kittle - November 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm Reply
  10. My daughter is 8 years old. She has been complaining about chest pains for about 3 weeks. Usually when she is sitting down resting or asleep. She also gets very winded during PE in school. She wakes up at night crying usually because of her chest. Some nights it’s her hips. I was wondering if these pains could be associated with growing. She is average height but higher up on the weight scale for her age. Though that is not due to being fat in my opinion she is just wider then most kids her age. The left side of her chest does seem to protrude farther out then her right by only a little but as a female I would assume that’s normal because most people ( obviously more noticeable in females) are not symmetrical. Is this something that I should be worried about and take her to the er or can it wait until her Dr is back from vacation

    Rebecca - November 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm Reply
  11. My son is 6 years old and has for the past 2-3 weeks been complaining and crying with his chest hurting. It happens when he’s at recess or active but not everytime. I took him to the Dr. who ordered a chest x-ray and an EKG. The EKG came back abnormal with a junction escape rhythm and he is being sent to a cardiologist now. My question is that I have never heard of this and I have looked online but I cannot make sense out of what I am reading, they use a lot of abbreviations and things that may make sense after we see the cardio. In the meantime, is there anything you can tell me to help me understand a bit better please. I am extremely worried about him and what I should expect in this process.

    Nichole Jackson - November 25, 2014 at 9:25 pm Reply
  12. My 13 year old has had sternum pain for almost a month. we think its from a blow to the chest from field hockey and then bumping the same area twice thereafter. We’ve been to the er and 4 other drs. been told three time its costocondritis. Motrin has not helped. Voltaren gel has not helped. Just been put on Mobic two days ago. Had a CT scan of sternum. no fractures found per ortho dr.
    how long does it take Mobic to work? can this be something else she has?

    am - November 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm Reply
  13. My son has been having chest pains since February 2014, at first it was diagnosed as growing pains, upon further test, we discovered he had PAPVR. This was something that without test would have been impossible to detect. On August 8, 2014 he had open heart surgery to correct this. All went well, Thank God. However after a couple of weeks his chest pains continued like before. He was on medication for some rubbing due to original enlargement and the chest pain was dismissed in order to focus on his heart pains. After a couple more check ups his heart test come back normal. Yet his chest pains are typically worse, they last for long stretches at a time and daily. He can not focus for more than an hour or so at a time. His school work is suffering. Can growing pains be that bad, on the average his pain is 5, it usually concerns me when he says his pain is 7 or 8 and he even crys. His physicians have said its growing pains. He doesn’t like to take Motrin, as he says it doesn’t really make a difference, and only takes it when the 7 and higher pains compel him to try and cope with the pain. Should I take a more aggressive approach with his physicians to look beyond your growing pains.

    Miguel Espinal - December 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm Reply
  14. Hello my daughter is 7 and for the last 3 weeks she randomly complains to me that her heart is burning and she feels a sharp pain in it. When she complains I notice that she is either lounging around or has eaten. She’s in perfect weight range and has been healthy her whole life. Any answers would be great thanks!

    Banesa - December 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm Reply
  15. Hello, my 6-year old daughter has complained a few times over the past year of her “heart hurting” and “bumping hard” and “squeezing of my heart”. Sometimes she is able to go to the bathroom (#2) and seems to help….but I wonder if there may be an underlying heart condition. It scares her, which in turn scares me to death. The episodes only last a few minutes at a time and she is not active prior to them that I know of. Her heart rate seems fine, strong, but fine. Could these be palpitations? Or some kind of reflux? Do you recommend she see her pediatrician?

    Brandee R. - December 8, 2014 at 9:28 pm Reply
  16. My 6 yr old is complaining his “heart hurts” along with his abdomen and sometimes stomach. The pain seems to come and go, sometimes when laying down, sometimes when playing. His grandfather has had 2 heart transplants due to cardiomyopothy. I’m going to make a dr apt but should I be worried or is this still “normal?”

    Amy - December 9, 2014 at 11:14 pm Reply
  17. My son is 10 uears old complains of pain upper left chest and sharp pain in his heart he says.
    Hes is been jumping the rope does about 200 jumps per night because hes overwight. He has asthma and takes albuterol as prn but asthma is controlled right now only this pain he has on his chest and also headaches about 3 x a week
    we wanna have him see a Dr. Should we see a cardiologist?

    emma canas - December 11, 2014 at 12:34 am Reply
  18. Hi my son was a premiee born five months gestation he has ephazimia latley hes been saying hes getting chest pains n pain in left arm Dr says hes ok should I be worried

    bernadette - December 11, 2014 at 7:19 am Reply
  19. I was trying to find some info on chest pains for teenagers and came across your q&a. You seem too nice to be a doctor. Not trying to offend you but sometimes doctors seem so desensitized or cold. Just wanted to say that you sound like a keeper. Thank you for taking the time to answer parent’s questions.

    Frances Napolitano - December 11, 2014 at 10:48 pm Reply
  20. 4 yr old boy. says his heart is broken or hurting. it’s been going on for roughly a year now.
    He was seen, quickly evaluated, regular size heart, nurses did a quick monitor to see the rhythm, they said it was normal.
    Yet the pains go on, if he’s lucky, he’ll go a day without pain. But on a normal day, he says it hurts 2-5 times a day. It hurts whether he’s playing or sitting around. When it hurts him, he just lies down on the couch or bed or just looks weak, but a few minutes later he’s up and about again.
    The past couple day’s tho, he’s been asking for motrin and I’m assuming that it’s helping him because he doesn’t say anything about pain. Sometimes his chest pain is accompanied with nausea. I’ve done some researching, and i’m reassured that i don’t have to be worried, but i’m just confused on what this pain can possibly be.

    Tiffany - December 12, 2014 at 2:45 am Reply
  21. Hi, my 9 year old nephew a month ago was told he had an abnormal heartbeat, then two weeks ago complained about chest pains in gym glass and was told again by the doctor he had abnormal heartbeat… Be has been referred to a cardiologist but was seeing if anybody new what it could be?

    Jaime Chavez - December 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm Reply
  22. I have a 7 year old daughter who was diagnosed with a PDA at age 6. She had it closed January 2014. I took her to her PCP because she was having blue lips after showering or getting out of the pool. Her doctor told me it was because her skin was so fair. However she referred us to a cardiologist who found the PDA. The only symptom she displayed was fatigue and would sleep for hours at a time and poor weight gain. She continues to do well to this day, very active and plays sports. For the past week she has been complaining of her chest hurting and when she breathes it makes her head hurt. She has not ran a fever and has not really been coughing much. She is not do for a cardio check up till June 2015. Just wondering if I should be worried. FYI the lining of her lips will have a bluish tint but then it goes away. Its bizarre but she doesn’t seem to be in distress. Her doctor told us a couple of months ago her murmur was back but did not refer us to her doctor. I guess I am looking for guidance on what to do. Thanks

    Jaime - December 18, 2014 at 10:46 am Reply
  23. Hi,
    My 6 year-old girl loves to run. Recently, she has been complaining of chest pain and palpitations whenever she runs even for a short distance in the house. There has never been any fainting episode. According to our primary care physician, my daughter’s heart sounds are normal. Apart from allergic rhinitis, she is not known to have any medical illness. Should I bring her to see a cardiologist for further evaluation?

    F. Azali - December 20, 2014 at 10:22 am Reply
  24. hi my daugther is 11 yrs old have been complaining for 2 weeks about her heart it feels like she cant breathe and heart rate sometimes is fast she also said i heart felt like it stopped . this is like a on and off thing thru the day .what could it be.

    julia - December 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm Reply
  25. Hello my daughter is 7 and has been given trileptal 300mg for her mood disorder. She started the medication 30 days ago. The past week or so she has been having uncontrollable little coughs. She can’t control it and now she is suffering from pain on the left side of her chest. The other day she woke up crying out in pain, it would hurt for about 5-10 mins then lessen. But would flare up 3 times till it would go away.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

    Jennifer - December 22, 2014 at 10:35 pm Reply
  26. I have a 7 year old daughter and about 2 weeks now she has been complaining about chest pains close to her heart..the pain last for about some seconds to a minute…. What could be the cause?.. Other than she is a healthy child never had any health problems…thanks..

    Anjanie Ali - December 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm Reply
  27. My daughter is 16 years old. Since she was 3 years old she has been very active and participated in multiple sports. She has been inactive for a couple years due to a concussion and foot surgery. She has been complaining of really bad chest pains on the left side and difficulty breathing only when she runs or does some type of activity. The pain will lessen after about 10-15 min of rest. We both thought that it was due to inactivity and she just needs to get back into shape, but should I be worried at all? Thank you

    Maya - December 26, 2014 at 2:44 am Reply
  28. Hi I’m Justin and I’m 18, experiencing a ‘quick’ stab like pain on my right side of my chest that’s been for few months. I have this pain probably More than ones a week. The pain causes me to stop breathing for like a second.. it occurs mostly when I’m relaxed, I’m not ill for while so far… Any Advice would be appreciated..

    Justin - December 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm Reply
  29. My 13 year old daughter has recently been complaining of it hurting when she breaths. She is not demonstrating signs of distress, just continuous complaints about it hurting.

    Melissa - December 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm Reply
  30. Hi, my daughter is 17 years old. When she was a baby she had some heart valve murmur or some kind of murmur. Over time it went away and she was fine. Recently she has been complaining of chest pain, shortness of breath, kind of fatigued, and a little dizzy or light headedness when she exercises. She tries to keep exercising but the pain gets so bad that she has to stop. She’s going to the doctor in a week, but should we try and see a Cardiologist or does this not sound like a heart related problem? Thank you

    Kelly - December 31, 2014 at 9:35 pm Reply
  31. My 5 yr old son has been sick since September. Upper respiratory that turned into pneumonia. After amoxicillin, omnicef, and superax (all 10 day antibiotic treatment) we took him to allergist. Evrry sinus cavity is impacted and we are currently treating that with meds to hopefully prevent surgery. With that being said, in November my son complained of chest pain and couldn’t breathe during PE. I figured it was from pneumonia or medications. He still complains of chest hurting, cant breathe and heart jumping when running or playing hard. Should be over pneumonia and all medications have changed. His chest xray showec lungs clear. So I decided to check his heart rate. Resting is 80 on average in 5 days, but when chasing him in the house his heart rate will reach 200 but decreases very quickly. Sometimes his chest will hurt and sometimes not. Is this normal? I can not find a lot if information about kids heart rates while excercising. He has always been very active, but when his PE teacher told me he wasn’t thd most active kid, it caught my attention. We have a follow up with allergist soon to see if sinuses have cleared, but in the meantime I am worried about heart rate and chest pain. I have mentioned the chest pain and breathing to his PCP and allergist, but just recently checked his heart rate on my own and havent been back to doctor. Should the heart rate be something I address vety quickly? Any suggestions?

    Kris - January 5, 2015 at 10:11 am Reply
  32. My 10 year old daughter for the past two nights has complained of chest pain and rapid heartbeat. Each night she has fallen asleep and is awakened by these episodes. I’ve allowed her to come in my room and rest so I could monitor her and she has grabbed at her chest about every 5-8 minutes before drifting off to sleep again. During daytime she said she feels it a little. She doesn’t complain about it or mention it. She engages in all her regular activities without any apparent issue. I have given children’s motrin and applied a heating pad to alleviate discomfort. Help!

    Dawn - January 5, 2015 at 12:21 pm Reply
  33. Hello, I just came across your page when I googled sympoms from my 8 year old son. He is a very keen footballer and he has only mentioned recently that his heart hurts when he has a long game. He says then stops for a few seconds and it usually goes away. It doesn’t seem to worry him, he actually told me off for worrying as he had this for ages, I tried to specify for how long but he can’t really tell, and he’s fine. Since then I saw him having these pains a couple of times when not playing football. It seems to be a sharp pain but goes away quite quickly and he’s ok then. It is just you keep mentioning to have proper check up if it keeps happening during exercise. Is it something I should be worried about?

    Sina - January 7, 2015 at 8:24 am Reply
  34. Hi my daughter is 14 years old and she is have chest pain when she breath and when she bending over it hurts her to the point where she can’t go to school please explain what’s wrong with her

    Jessica - January 7, 2015 at 4:26 pm Reply
  35. Hi, I’m Emily. I’m 18 years old and I honestly am at my wits end. I have really bad chest pains, directly in the center of my chest. It’s extremely sudden and comes without cause. Its entirely random, I can either be completely relaxed or sitting up and the pain just “hits me”. It causes me to nearly freak out because I feel like I’m not getting a “satisfying” breath and the pains in my chest are so uncomfortable. I tried to tell my mom, but she didn’t really worry about it. Especially today, I nearly though a fit in training for my job because I felt like I could barely breath and the pains were nearly unbearable. My nose starts to feel tingly too. I’ve had panic attacks before, but it never felt like this. I don’t have a racing heart rate. These kinds of chest pains have been going on for several months now. The really bad pains happen for over 10 minutes and then it dies down to just feeling uncomfortable, then feeling better. It happened in the middle of the night at 1 am and I woke my parents up complaining about it. I’ve tried breathing techniques, breathing in steam, stepping into a freezer, anything. Like you said, I have these “Heart Pains”. I’m scared and my parents don’t really help. What should I do? Should I see a doctor? I’ll take any answers and advice.

    Thank you.

    Emily - January 8, 2015 at 12:43 am Reply
  36. Hi,my 7 years son was having a bad cough for more than a week,his pediatric gave him a 500 ml antibiotic(cefopid)injecton once a day for 3 days.A day after the last shot he started throughing up and complaining of chest pain all the day and he looks pale and doesn’t want to eat.what sould i do?

    Eman - January 8, 2015 at 6:39 pm Reply
  37. My 16 year old daughter has been complaining of what she believed was heart pain radiating down her left arm and up her neck for the past 8 months. She also gets a headache and feels weak for quite awhile when these episodes occur. It occurs every day at this point, sometimes more than once a day. We took her to a heart specialist and they ruled out a heart disorder, yet we have no idea what is causing her distress and don’t particularly know how to help her. We heard that stomach issues often are misinterpreted as heart issues, so we are giving her probiotics and enzymes to help with digestion. We are looking for suggestions to help her because something is definitely hurting her.

    Pamila - January 10, 2015 at 1:03 am Reply
  38. 2 times in the last 3-4 days, my 7 yr old has complained that the left side of her chest hurts. One time, she was in bed and the other time she was just playing in the house. I listened to her heartbeat both times and it was beating fast for about 30 sec and then beat slower for about 4-5 beats and then back to the faster rate. This happened both times.

    Elissa - January 12, 2015 at 9:15 pm Reply
  39. Son aged 9 complaining of pain next to heart this happened when playing football but has also mentioned it a few times when just sitting having had him at doctors examined and said healthy boy seems a bit anxious that something is going to happen to him.im a bit concerned any help please.

    sharon ashwood - January 16, 2015 at 6:13 am Reply
  40. My son is 9-years-old and a very active child. During the 4th game of this basketball season, mid-way through the 2nd quarter he came court side to me complaining that his chest hurt. He had been going pretty hard the entire game. My first guess was that he had pushed a little too hard so I suggested he sit down. He appeared uncomfortable and rested on my lap for about 10 minutes. His skin (arms / legs) got kind of clammy. (He told me later that he had also been having a little trouble breathing). When he started feeling better he went out side for about five more minutes with his mom to get some fresh air. His face became very flushed. But he said he felt much better and we went inside. When the 3rd quarter started he seemed ok and went back in. His face was still a little flushed, but everything was back to normal shortly after and he finished the game. There was no indication that anything was wrong after that and he played a very strong 2nd half.

    Everything I’ve read has minimized heart issues in young children. But I have to admit this kind of freaked me out a bit. My gut throughout told me he had just overdone it and his body was telling him to slow down. But I thought it worth getting some advice.


    Bill - January 17, 2015 at 10:18 pm Reply
  41. Hello.my son is 8 and has been complaining of “chest pain ” for 3 weeks now, it does not hurt when he excercises. He has had some acid reflux which he was given meds for. He still says it hurts, not just thd reflux, he says it moves from side to side of his chest cavity and wakes him at night. We have seen a dr and a ultrasound has been ordered. I am concerened of course. Your professional opinion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Kimberly - January 20, 2015 at 10:30 am Reply
  42. My 7 her old says today while at school his chest(sternum) began to hurt. It doesn’t seem to bother him to much. He plays basket ball for fun but hasn’t played today. I asked him all six questions and its been almost 3 weeks since he was sick. I gave him Tylenol to see if that helps. Should I make a doctors appt. Or is it “growing pains”.

    JaQuetta - January 20, 2015 at 10:15 pm Reply
  43. My son is 6 and the past few months has been complaining of sudden sharp pain in his chest that stops him in what ever he is doing. It happens when he is resting or active. We had an EKGand echo done. The EKG showed ( what the reading pediatric ccardiologist reported) probable left ventricle hypertrophy, I can see on the EKG print out there is a spike. The echo showed patent foramen ovale, and trace amounts of regurgitation in the tricuspid, mitral and pulmonic valves. We seen a cardiologist and he said he ddoesn’t agree with the results and that my son is fine. Im still concerned because he still has pain, and its keeping him from doing things that he used to love. Thank you!

    Nicole - January 21, 2015 at 3:23 pm Reply
  44. Hi my 13 year old daughter has been saying she has chest pain like crushing on her left side and she says sometimes she cant breath and i didn’t pay attention to it but then i saw her squeezing her chest on the left side should i give her medical attention immediatly? Because her chest pain only lasted for a minute and her breathing is very fast until its back to normal. What should I do?

    Sharmee Ligugiud - January 24, 2015 at 11:25 am Reply
  45. My 5 year old son has came to me and said his heart hurts 3 times with in the past week. He’s been very tired after school more then normal. I checked his pulse which is 100. He was sick a little over a week ago… he hasn’t been injured. He said it’s mild pain. Only last 5 mins… and he said he does get mad at school because some classmates are mean to him all day… It only hurts him around night time… ANY SUGGESTIONS?

    candice - January 25, 2015 at 9:35 pm Reply
  46. Hi, my son is 13 and has been a swimmer for almost 4 years. Recently he told me that after he swims for while or even if he runs hard in PE that his chest hurts on the right side by his ribs and shoots back to his shoulder on the right side as well. He has had a cold/cough that has lingered for 7 weeks now but he says that it happened before he had his cold too. His grandma has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and he was tested when he was 7 for it and it was negative. I was told that this can develop in adolescence. Would it be advisable to have it checked?

    Raquel G - January 27, 2015 at 1:35 am Reply
  47. Hello! About a week ago our 6 year old son walked up the stairs and said his heart was beating really hard and fast. He is a very active kid, so walking up the stairs shouldn’t cause a significant increase in HR….I wouldn’t think. I put my hand on his chest and it was beating really hard. He reports that this happens sometimes and notices it most when he is sitting still. He states that it hurts when it happens, not that it just feels weird. It happened again this morning after playing with his brother not very vigorously. He didn’t c/o it hurting that time but I put my hand on his chest and his heart was beating very hard. I have taken his resting HR several times and seems to be WNL (78-82bpm). I have not been able to take a HR when he is c/o the pounding, fast, pain though. The pain he c/o is not something that makes him cry or stop what he is doing. Sometimes when I take his pulse it seems like the beats are not always evenly spaced, but not sure if that is just a mom worried thinking she is feeling something. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!

    Megan - January 27, 2015 at 10:33 am Reply
  48. Thank you for your reply. My son had an ECHO and my husband was checked (she is his mom) and he was good. Do the symptoms I described earlier sound like its related?

    Raquel - January 27, 2015 at 3:19 pm Reply

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