Unstable Angina Pectoris

What is Unstable Angina Pectoris?

Unstable Angina Pectoris is a type of chest pain that occurs when not enough blood and oxygen reaches the heart. It is a medical emergency that must be treated as soon as possible, as it can lead to heart attack or even death. People with Unstable Angina Pectoris often describe the pain as tightness or pressure in the chest.

Symptoms of Unstable Angina Pectoris

The main symptom of Unstable Angina Pectoris is chest pain. Other symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Pain radiating to the arms or back

These symptoms usually come on suddenly and worsen with activity or stress. The chest pain is usually more severe than the pain of stable angina and can last for minutes or hours.

Causes of Unstable Angina Pectoris

Unstable Angina Pectoris occurs when there is reduced blood and oxygen supply to the heart. This can be due to narrowed or blocked arteries from plaque buildup, or a tear or rupture of an artery wall, although this is lesser common.

Diagnosis of Unstable Angina Pectoris

Your doctor will listen to your chest and check your vital signs, such as your heart rate and blood pressure. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), a cardiac stress test, laboratory tests, echocardiogram (ECG), or coronary angiogram.

Treatment of Unstable Angina Pectoris

Treatment for Unstable Angina Pectoris is designed to reduce symptoms, restore normal blood flow to the heart, and prevent future heart problems. Treatment includes:

  • Medications such as nitrates, antiplatelets, anticoagulants, and beta-blockers
  • Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing stress, and losing weight
  • Surgery such as angioplasty with or without stents, or bypass surgery

It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and seek medical help right away if you think you are having a heart attack.