Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart isn’t receiving enough blood. It is a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary artery disease.
There are three types of angina:
- Stable angina, the most common form, may occur when the heart is working harder than usual. It is usually helped by rest and medication.
- Unstable angina, which can occur without physical activity and could be a sign of a potential heart attack.
- Variant angina is rare, occurring at rest, and is often helped by medication.
Angina: what you should know
- Along with pressure or squeezing in the chest, signs of angina may include indigestion or pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back.
- Though angina is a sign of coronary artery disease, not all chest pain or discomfort is an indication of coronary artery disease. Other conditions that can cause chest pain include a lung infection or a panic attack.
Care for angina at Rush
If angina is causing you distress, experts at Rush can draw on their decades of experience to find the root of your problem. Rush welcomes patients seeking second opinions.
You might need one or more of these treatments:
- Cardiac rehabilitation to help you make lifestyle modifications and learn how to exercise safely
- Nitroglycerin, a fast-acting medication in either spray or tablet form that relieves angina symptoms
- Aspirin to help prevent the formation of blood clots
- Beta blockers, which are medications used to slow down the heart rate and how much oxygen the heart needs
- Statins (such as rosuvastatin or atorvastatin), cholesterol-lowering medications that improve blood flow even before your cholesterol level goes down
- Dietary changes to reduce cholesterol, plaque and inflammation
- Angioplasty, a procedure used to open a blocked artery
- Bypass surgery to improve blood flow to the heart and relieve chest pain
Why choose Rush for angina care
- Outstanding treatment for heart attack. Rush has received Mission: Lifeline STEMI Accreditation, provided through a partnership between the American Heart Association and the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. To earn this accreditation, hospitals must meet standards for prompt, appropriate heart attack treatment, including lifesaving procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) on a 24/7 basis. Rush is one of only two hospitals in Chicago to receive this accreditation.
- Specialized pediatric heart care. For children with chest pain, Rush has a pediatric cardiology team that specializes in treating children with this condition.