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Is it necessary to undergo ECG?

Q: I am a 42 years old male have had a chest pain accompanied with swelling for a couple of weeks. My blood pressure has been constantly on higher side. My usual blood pressure ranges at 80/55 mm/hg. I consulted a doctor who told me that I am suffering from costochondritis. I also experience shortness of breath. The doctor asked me to undergo ECG. Is it necessary to undergo ECG? I cannot afford the expenses of ECG. How long does it take for the swelling to go down?

A:Your symptoms need immediate attention - I would recommend seeing a physician as soon as possible. There are many conditions that can cause shortness of breath including many lung problems. Pulmonary embolism is a very serious problem that can present in this way. I am not sure why you have swelling - I am assuming it is in the legs - congestive heart failure can present in this manner. Other causes for chest pain include gastro-esophageal reflux or esophageal spasm. I am worried about your description of shortness of breath and oedema and recommend immediate attention. Again this is general advice based on the information you have provided and you should share this information with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Echocardiograms will show the pumping function of both sides of the heart and can be helpful in many situations. Not having health insurance is a tough situation and I hope that resolves for you. You should consider going to a free or government run clinic. You may also be able to seek assistance from the government for financial difficulty.

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