Chest Pain, Shortness of Breath in Children

When children complain of chest pain and difficulty breathing, many parents’ first concern is a heart problem. Fortunately, chest pain in children is usually not serious, and is rarely related to the heart.

Children may feel pain in their chest for several reasons:

  • Lungs, ribs or chest wall muscles are inflamed or irritated, often because of a respiratory infection.
  • Chest injury from sports or play.
  • Feeling anxious or stressed.

And, because chest pain may make normal breathing difficult, a child may have shortness of breath as well.

Heart Related Causes of Chest Pain & Shortness of Breath

In rare cases, heart conditions can cause chest pain and shortness of breath in children. These conditions include:

  • Pericarditis: an inflammation of the sac around the heart
  • Myocarditis: a viral infection of the heart
  • Arrhythmias: abnormally fast heartbeats
  • Coronary artery blockage or other problems

When to Call Your Child's Pediatrician

If your child complains of chest pain and breathing problems, and is also sweating or has a fever or rapid heartbeat, call your Mercy pediatrician right away. In the unlikely event that your child does have a heart issue, your doctor will work with Mercy’s pediatric heart specialists to provide the best possible care for your young one’s heart.

Heart problems in children are not common, but it is always best to have your child checked by your pediatrician any time you have a health concern. Mercy Kids is here to keep your youngest family members feeling their best.

Locations Nearby


  • {{locationResult.address}}
    {{}}, {{locationResult.state}} {{locationResult.zipcode}}
  • {{}}
  • Hours of Operations:
{{locationResult.waitTime.$$state.value}} Hold My Place {{locationResult.distance}} Miles