Also Known As: Angina, Angina pectoris
Angina pectoris, commonly known as angina, is chest pain due to ischemia (a lack of blood, thus a lack of oxygen supply and waste removal) of the heart muscle, generally due to obstruction or spasm of the coronary arteries (the heart's blood vessels). Coronary artery disease, the main cause of angina, is due to atherosclerosis of the cardiac arteries. The term derives from the Latin angina ("infection of the throat") from the Greek á¼€Î³Ï‡ÏŒÎ½Î· ankhonÄ“ ("strangling"), and the Latin pectus ("chest"), and can therefore be translated as "a strangling feeling in the chest".
There is a weak relationship between severity of pain and degree of oxygen deprivation in the heart muscle (i.e., there can be severe pain with little or no risk of a heart attack, and a heart attack can occur without pain).
Worsening ("crescendo") angina attacks, sudden-onset angina at rest, and angina lasting more than 15 minutes are symptoms of unstable angina (usually grouped with similar conditions as the acute coronary syndrome). As these may herald myocardial infarction (a heart attack), they require urgent medical attention and are generally treated as a presumed heart attack.