- Author: Lynn K Flowers, MD, MHA, ABAARM, FACEP; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP more...
In contrast to myocardial ischemia or infarction, costochondritis is a benign cause of chest pain and is an important consideration in the differential diagnosis.[1, 2] Although the term costochondritis often is used interchangeably with fibrositis and Tietze syndrome, these are distinct diagnoses. For discussion of costochondritis in children, see Pediatric Costochondritis.
Costochondritis is an inflammatory process of the costochondral or costosternal joints that causes localized pain and tenderness. Any of the 7 costochondral junctions may be affected, and more than 1 site is affected in 90% of cases. The second to fifth costochondral junctions most commonly are involved.
The exact prevalence of a musculoskeletal etiology for chest pain is not known, although overall prevalence of a musculoskeletal etiology for chest pain was approximately 10% in one study. In a 1994 emergency department study, 30% of patients with chest pain had costochondritis.
The condition's course generally is self-limited, but the patient often experiences recurrent or persistent symptoms.
In Disla's costochondritis study, women comprised 69% of patients with costochondritis versus 31% in the control group.
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