Some people experience chest pain or discomfort after an endoscopy. This can happen due to the gas surgeons use to inflate the stomach during the procedure.

If this is the cause, the pain should be mild and go away in a few days. Some treatments doctors carry out during an endoscopy may also result in symptoms.

However, chest pain can be due to complications, such as an infection or injury. One case report also suggests that endoscopy may affect the heart. However, this appears to be very rare.

Although endoscopy is a generally safe procedure, anyone who begins experiencing chest pain afterward will need to contact their doctor to ensure there is no cause for concern.

This article explores the causes and potential treatments for chest pain after an endoscopy.

A young woman sat on a hospital bed after an endoscopy.Share on Pinterest
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Mild chest discomfort can happen after an endoscopy. It usually gets better in a few days. However, if the chest pain is severe, does not go away, or occurs with other symptoms, it may be a sign of a serious complication.

Some typical side effects of this procedure include:

If a doctor also performed a biopsy or growth removal during the endoscopy, people may experience slight bleeding at the site.

Complications from endoscopies are rare. However, if a person develops any of the following symptoms, they should seek immediate medical help:

There are several reasons why a person might experience chest pain after an endoscopy.


Surgeons use carbon dioxide to inflate the digestive tract during an endoscopy. This gas can put pressure on the diaphragm and cause discomfort in the chest area. If gas is the cause, this should subside by itself after a few days.


If doctors perform a biopsy or growth removal during an endoscopy, a person may feel slight pain or soreness at the site.


Endoscopies can lead to infection, although this is uncommon. The infection can come from bacteria already present elsewhere in the digestive tract, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella enteritidis.

Symptoms may include fever, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment can involve antibiotics or other medications to manage the symptoms.


Perforation can occur if surgical tools or the endoscope pierce a hole in the lining of the digestive tract. It is rare, occurring in just 0.019% of procedures.

It is a potentially life threatening complication, as a severe infection can develop if food or fluid leaks from the digestive system into the surrounding areas. Other symptoms of perforation include:

  • fever
  • severe abdominal pain
  • vomiting blood, which may be red or look like coffee grounds
  • black or tarry stools

Perforations require immediate medical care. Treatment may involve surgery to repair the hole and antibiotics to prevent infections.


Pericarditis is inflammation of the protective sac around the heart. It can cause chest pain.

Rarely, pericarditis may occur after an endoscopy. There is one 2018 case report of this happening, and the authors emphasize that doctors should bear this risk in mind. However, there are few other reports of this complication.

Treatment may include high dose aspirin or steroids.

Doctors may use various tests to diagnose chest pain after an endoscopy, including:

  • a physical exam to assess any swelling or tenderness
  • heart and lung tests to check for irregular heart rhythms or breathing problems
  • blood and urine tests to rule out infections and inflammation
  • imaging studies, such as chest X-rays, to look for any masses or injuries
  • an ECG to check for heart-related problems

After an endoscopy, people often feel groggy, so it is best to rest and avoid strenuous activities for the rest of the day.

They will also need to stay hydrated and choose foods that are easy to swallow, as their throat may hurt for a few days. Once they can swallow without pain, they can return to their usual diet.

It is crucial to seek medical advice if a person develops chest pain or if side effects of the procedure do not subside after a few days.

Chest pain after an endoscopy is not the most common side effect. However, it may occur if gas from the procedure causes bloating. Less commonly, it may be a sign of a complication, such as a perforation or infection.

It is best for anyone with chest pain after an endoscopy to seek medical attention. Although it may not be a cause for concern, a doctor will need to assess the person’s symptoms to ensure they receive the appropriate treatment.