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Heart Attack Pain Or Gas Pain - How to Differentiate?

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Heart Attack Pain Or Gas Pain - How to Differentiate?

Cardiology | by Dr. Ashok B Malpani | Published on 15/06/2022


It is quite common to experience a feeling of pain around the chest after a heavy meal or sometimes, in general. People may think their chest is related to cardiac issues. While chest pain is a common symptom of cardiac illness, it is also linked to stomach-related issues. Gas pain in the chest occurs due to the accumulation of excess gas in the abdomen after a meal and feels almost similar to a heart attack.

If you are experiencing symptoms of chest pain, it is important to get a proper diagnosis to ensure effective treatment. Patients who ignore comprehensive analysis and mistake heart attack for gas pain symptoms are at an increased risk of complications including death. If you are looking for a comprehensive diagnosis for your chest pain, then this blog can provide a reference to know what your condition can be. However, please note that this blog is for informational purposes only and does not replace the importance of a doctor’s consultation.


What are the Symptoms Of Gas Pain in The Chest?

Gas pain symptoms in the chest occur due to intestinal gas consisting of deodorised gases such as hydrogen, methane, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide. Gas pain symptoms in the chest are often similar to a heart attack and usually resolve on their own. However, in some cases, gas pain in the chest can interfere with your daily routine and impact your quality of life. Get in touch with the doctor if you are experiencing the following symptoms of gas pain in the chest -

  • Belching (passing gas through the mouth)
  • Flatulence (passing gas through the anus)
  • Abdominal pain such as cramps
  • Bloating
  • Distention
  • Indigestion

What Are The Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

Heart attack symptoms usually vary in individuals depending on the medical health of the patient, the extent of blockage in the coronary arteries, and any other existing disease. While the heart attack pain areas may be similar to gas pain, the former is a life-threatening condition which can cause the following symptoms - 

  • Chest pain (a feeling of heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness or squeezing pain)
  • Intense pain in either one or both arms including the left shoulder
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cold sweat or perspiration

Know The Difference Between Gas Pain and Heart Attack?

Gas, heartburn and heart attack can have similar signs. The sensation of gas pain usually occurs as a result of gas that gathers in the stomach or the left part of the colon. However, it is only through comprehensive diagnosis that one can know the primary cause of chest pain. 

Identifying the signs of gas pain in the chest or a heart attack involves recognising noticeable differences between the two. Certain parameters based on symptoms, causes, risk factors, diagnosis, and method of treatment can help identify the exact cause of chest discomfort. 

Difference Between Gas Pain and Heart Attack


Gas Pain

Heart Attack


  • Belching
  • Flatulence
  • Distention 
  • Burning sensation
  • Bloating
  • Stabbing pain in chest
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight gain
  • Pain in the arms, shoulders, jaw & mouth
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Fullness/Chest discomfort
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting or lightheadedness
  • Cold sweat


  • Food indigestion
  • Food intolerance
  • Food poisoning
  • Excess carbonation
  • Digestive conditions
  • Swallowing excess air while chewing food

Risk Factors

  • Excess accumulation of gas in the left side of colon
  • Consuming artificial sweeteners
  • Distention
  • Smoking and Drinking 
  • Consuming carbonated drinks
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Obesity
  • Diet rich in fatty foods
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • High blood pressure 
  • Taking certain drugs
  • Sedentary lifestyle


  • Examining Medical history
  • Dietary changes
  • Physical Examination
  • Blood Tests
  • Hydrogen Breath test
  • Colon screening
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) tract exam
  • Medical history & Family background
  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Angiogram
  • Coronary angiography
  • Chest X-ray
  • Heart MRI
  • Heart computed tomography (CT) scan


There is often a dilemma among people regarding gas pain in the chest versus heart attack. While one condition is related to a gastrointestinal condition, the other can cause serious heart illness. Therefore, it is important to seek medical assistance in case the symptoms become worse. Gas pain in the chest is mostly acute and resolves on its own. The feeling usually persists for an hour or so after a heavy meal whereas, a heart attack is a chronic cardiac disorder which is accompanied by other coronary artery disease symptoms. Both conditions cause pain in the chest which is why is it not wise to neglect the treatment. 


How to get relief from gas pain in the chest?

Gas pain in the chest usually resolves on its own. But if the condition persists, doctors recommend several dietary changes to get relief from gas pain in the chest - 

  • Avoiding spicy food
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Stay hydrated
  • Consuming a high-fibre diet
  • Eliminate sugar substitutes
  • Over-the-counter painkillers (if prescribed)
  • Exercise

Can I prevent gas pain?

Yes, preventing gas pain can be easy as it mostly involves lifestyle changes and dietary restrictions. The doctor may recommend the following to prevent gas pain in the chest - 

  • Avoid greasy and spicy foods
  • Reduce caffeinated or carbonated beverages
  • Do not consume artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols
  • Do not eat contaminated food
  • Stay away from foods that cause allergies or intolerances
  • Keep yourself physically active by doing regular exercises

How to identify gas pain in the chest?

Identifying gas pain in the chest involves being aware of the following symptoms - 

  • Belching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Pain that shifts to different parts of the abdomen
  • Voluntary or involuntary passing of excess gas (relieve pain)

When to seek medical attention for gas pain?

Seek medical assistance for gas pain if there are intestinal symptoms such as- 

  • Acid reflux
  • Burning sensation in the chest
  • Chronic fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased belching (burping)
  • Frequent flatulence (farting)
  • Diarrhoea

Which side of chest pain is a heart attack?

Most heart attacks usually occur in the centre or left side of the chest. Depending on the medical condition of the patient, a heart attack can last for more than a few minutes which usually comes and goes.