Angina is a pain or discomfort in the chest. It often has a squeezing or pressure-like feel. This discomfort can also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaws, or back. Anginal pain usually lasts for no more than 2-10 minutes. It is relieved by rest or
Types of angina include:
Stable angina—has a predictable pattern. You generally know what brings it on and relieves it. You may also know what the intensity will be.
Unstable angina—is more unpredictable or severe. Chest pain may occur while resting or even sleeping (nocturnal angina). The discomfort may last longer and be more intense than that of stable angina.
Unstable angina may be a sign that you are about to have a
. It should be treated as an emergency.
Variant or prinzmetal's angina—occurs when you are at rest. It most often occurs in the middle of the night. It can be quite severe.
Typical Angina Pain Areas
Women are more likely to experience atypical pain, outside of these areas.
(CAD). It occurs when the blood vessels leading to the heart are blocked. The blockage decreases the blood and oxygen flow to the heart muscle. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen you will feel chest pain and other symptoms.
when chest discomfort is severe, lasts more than 15 minutes, and is accompanied by other symptoms such as:
Pain in the shoulder(s) or arm(s), or into the jaw
Shortness of breath
Tests will be done right away to see if you are having an episode of angina or a heart attack. If you have a stable pattern of angina, other tests may be done to determine the extent of your disease. The test results will help to create a treatment plan.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Blood tests—to look for certain blood markers to determine if you are having a heart attack
Griffith's 5-Minute Clinical Consult
. 2001 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2001.
Dickstein K, Kjekshus J. Effects of losartan and captopril on mortality and morbidity in high-risk patients after acute myocardial infarction: the OPTIMAAL randomised trial.
Lopez-Sendon J, Swedberg K, McMurray J, et al. Expert consensus document on angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors in cardiovascular disease. The Task Force on ACE-inhibitors of the European Society of Cardiology.
Eur Heart J
*Updated section on Blood Thinners on 7/14/06 according to the following study, as cited by
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Andreotti F, Testa L, Biondi-Zoccai GG, et al. Aspirin plus warfarin compared to aspirin alone after acute coronary syndromes: an updated and comprehensive meta-analysis of 25,307 patients.
Eur Heart J
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a