Some conditions can make a person’s heart feel like it’s beating out of their chest, or cause such intense pain, a person may think their heart will explode.
Don’t worry, your heart can’t actually explode. However, several things can make you feel like your heart’s about to explode. Some conditions can even cause a wall of your heart to rupture, though this is very rare.
Read on to learn more about the causes behind this sensation, and whether you should head to the emergency room.
Most people immediately jump to thoughts of a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest when they notice an unusual feeling around their heart. While feeling like your heart is going to explode may be an early symptom of both of these, you’ll likely notice other symptoms as well.
Call your local emergency number right away if you or a loved one notice any of the following symptoms:
Don’t attempt to drive yourself to the emergency room if you have any of these symptoms.
Panic attacks can cause a range of alarming physical symptoms, including feeling like your heart’s going to explode. It can be particularly frightening if you’ve never experienced a panic attack before.
Some common panic attack symptoms include:
Keep in mind that panic attacks can affect people differently. In addition, sometimes symptoms of a panic attack feel very similar to those of a serious heart issue, which only adds to feelings of fear and anxiety.
If you have these symptoms and haven’t had a panic attack before, it may be best to head to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.
If you’ve had a panic attack before, follow any treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. You can also try these 11 strategies to stop a panic attack.
But remember, panic attacks are a very real condition, and you can still head to urgent care if you feel like you need to.
In extremely rare cases, a wall of your heart can rupture, preventing the heart from pumping blood to the rest of your body. Here are a few conditions that can cause this:
Myocardial rupture can happen after a heart attack. When you have a heart attack, blood flow to nearby tissue stops. This can cause heart cells to die.
If a large number of heart cells die, it can leave the affected area more vulnerable to rupturing. But advances in medicine, including medications and heart catheterization, make this much less common.
The American College of Cardiology notes the incidence of rupture has decreased from more than 4 percent between 1977 and 1982, to less than 2 percent between 2001 and 2006.
Still, myocardial rupture does occasionally happen, so if you’ve previously had a heart attack, it’s worth getting any exploding sensations checked out right away.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a condition that makes the connective tissue in your body thin and fragile. As a result, organs and tissues, including the heart, are more prone to rupturing. This is why people with this condition are advised to have regular checkups to catch any areas that might be at risk.
A hard, direct blow to the heart, or other damage that directly pierces the heart, can also cause it to rupture. But this is extremely rare and only happens during serious accidents.
If you or someone else has been hit hard in the chest and feel any sort of exploding sensation, head to the emergency room right away.
People do survive a heart rupture or explosion. However, these numbers are significantly smaller than if a person seeks medical attention to prevent it.
Feeling like your heart is exploding can be alarming, but chances are, your heart’s not actually going to rupture. Still, it can be a sign of something else, from a severe panic attack to a heart emergency.
If you or someone else feel an exploding sensation in the heart, it’s best to seek immediate treatment just to be safe.