Precordial capture syndrome: symptoms and causes

Precordial capture syndrome – also known as Teixidor's twinge – it is a very common cause of chest pain in children between 6 and 12 years of age. This type of discomfort accounts for up to 0.5% of pediatric emergency room visits, as parents can mistake it for serious cardiovascular failure.

The term "precordial" means in front of the heart, so the pain appears in the form of stitches in the front of the chest. If you want to know everything about this clinical event, keep reading, but we anticipate that you should not worry: it is a harmless and very common condition in young people.

Symptoms of precordial capture syndrome

Precordial Capture Syndrome (PCS) is defined as a series of stitches in the anterior chest, usually in the left parasternal region. These clinical signs begin with bending over or without warning, and last 30 seconds to 3 minutes. They usually disappear on their own in a short time.

According to informative brochures of the organization Childrens Wisconsin, symptoms are common in children, adolescents, and young adults in their 20s, who have no history of heart abnormalities. Some of the most typical clinical signs are the following:

  • Sudden pain that appears at rest, or when the patient is sitting with the shoulders hunched.
  • This discomfort appears in a specific place on the chest, as if it were a needle stick inside the skin.
  • The condition worsens with deep breathing.
  • It happens for a very short time. The frequency varies from 3 times a day to once every 8 months, but it is not linked to hyperventilatory processes.

Even though the symptoms may seem severe, it is very important to stay calm. This type of pain is easily differentiated from heart attacks by a very specific point: the pain is not radiated.

Of course, when this discomfort begins in the chest and spreads to the neck, jaw, shoulders and arms, it is essential to call the emergency room.

Precordial capture syndrome causes throbbing in the chest. Therefore, those who suffer from it tend to worry.

To know more: How to distinguish a heart attack from an anxiety attack

Causes of precordial capture syndrome

Although it is a fairly common condition, studies show that, in most cases, no concrete causes are found for its appearance. However, muscle cramps and pinched intercostal nerves, among other things, are believed to be possible triggers.

Rapid and sudden growth is also suspected of promoting it, hence it is much more common in young people and children. Poor posture, chest injuries, stress, and other events that compromise the nerve and muscle structure are also candidates for it to occur.

When these symptoms appear, keep calm. Worry can lead to anxiety, which makes the condition even worse.


As indicated by the portal WebMD, the first step is perform a physical exam on the patient and ask about associated signs and symptoms. If an underlying clinical condition is not suspected, a series of protocol tests is sufficient.

On the other hand, if a heart disease is suspected, an electrocardiogram, an X-ray test or an ultrasound can be performed. More than anything, these tests are done in order to rule out more serious pathologies.

Available treatments

As we have said in previous lines, pain caused by precordial capture syndrome usually goes away on its own. Therefore, no specific treatment is necessary. However, in certain cases, the doctor may prescribe over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain, such as Motrin.

Also, it is necessary to consider stress and anxiety as possible sources of the problem. For this reason, the psychological approach is much more important than the pharmacological one in most cases. The following indications must be followed:

  1. Explain to the patient that chest pain is common in children and young people, especially if the sufferer is an infant. You need to reassure him that he is okay and should not worry.
  2. Explore possible clinical signs that highlight any circulatory problems. This implies ruling out angina, mitral valve prolapse, chest wall syndrome, among others.
  3. Describe to the patient the typical symptoms of precordial capture syndrome. It will be reflected in them and, therefore, it will become much calmer.
  4. Emphasize that it is an innocuous condition.

Psychological therapy is usually more important than pharmacological therapy in treating precordial capture syndrome.

You may be interested in: Chest pain when coughing, what are its causes?

What to remember about precordial capture syndrome?

Precordial capture syndrome is common and harmless. Once you have been diagnosed, the only possible path in these episodes is to relax and remain calm. There is no use worrying about something that has no solution.

However, not all chest pain can be accounted for by chest pain. If you have previous heart problems, the pain changes or becomes more frequent, you have new symptoms or the discomfort radiates and does not stop over time, see a doctor immediately. In cardiovascular issues, prevention is always better than cure.

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