Costosternal syndrome, also known as chest wall pain or Costochondritis, is an acute and often temporary inflammation of the costal cartilage.
Chest wall pain may imitate conditions like heart attack or other heart or gastrointestinal problems, hence a thorough subjective and physical examination is performed to diagnose chest wall pain. Tenderness or swelling in the breastbone areas may be seen on physical examination with different types of maneuvers.
In most cases of costochondritis, no cause is identified.However, it may be the result of physical trauma associated with scoliosis, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or a tumor.
Other causes of chest pain similar to that produced by costochondritis may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Cardiac: Heart attack, Pericarditis/myocarditis, Aortic aneurysm
- Gastrointestinal: Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Gastritis, Esophagitis
- Musculoskeletal: Fibromyalgia, Rib fracture, Ankylosing spondylitis, Bone metastasis and sarcomas, Reactive arthritis
- Psychogenic: Anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Hyperventilation
- Respiratory: Pneumonia, Pneumothorax, Pleuritis, Pulmonary embolism
- Other: Herpes zoster, Drug abuse