Non ST Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome

Non-ST Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome (NSTE ACS)

Non-ST Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome (NSTE ACS) is a heart condition caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. Depending on the severity, NSTE ACS can range from a mild chest discomfort to a life-threatening event. It's estimated that 1.5 million Americans suffer from NSTE ACS each year.

The most common cause of NSTE ACS is atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing of the coronary arteries that fuels the heart muscle. When affected by atherosclerosis, the lining of the artery is damaged, resulting in a buildup of plaque. This prevents the artery from delivering an adequate supply of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle, and causes a decrease in functioning of the heart.

Symptoms of NSTE ACS:

  • Chest discomfort or pressure
  • Pain in the left shoulder, arm, neck, or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Rapid or irregular heart beat
  • Nausea or vomiting

Most patients with NSTE ACS are treated conservatively with lifestyle modification, stress management, and medications aimed at controlling cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. For more serious cases, coronary angioplasty may be necessary to unblock the arteries and restore proper blood flow to the heart.

Managing the symptoms and risks of NSTE ACS depends heavily on prevention. Diet and lifestyle modifications such as losing weight and exercising regularly can go a long way. Additionally, quitting smoking and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help reduce the risks.