Do You Have Chest Pain? Is it Angina?

1.What is Angina Pectoris?

Angina is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. This is usually a symptom of coronary artery disease. It is experienced as a sensation of pressure, heaviness, tightness, squeezing. Chest discomfort may also radiates to inner border of left arm. This increases on exercise, walking or any exertion and decreases on rest. That lasts for few minutes. Pain which lasts for few seconds are usually not anginal pain. If this pain continues after few minutes and doesn’t subside on rest then it is an emergency which should be attended by a cardiologist immediately.

2.What type of pain patient experience in angina pectoris?

Angina pectoris is described as a sensation of pressure, heaviness, tightness, squeezing, burning, or choking sensation in the chest usually due to coronary artery disease.

3.What is the area where pain of angina pectoris is experienced?

Chest discomfort is the usual and common presentation. Anginal pains may also be experienced in the epigastrium (upper part of central abdomen above umbilicus), back, neck area, jaw, shoulders, arms (more commonly seen along inner border of left arm).

4.How to recognize anginal pain?

Angina is typically precipitated by exertion or emotional stress. It increase by having a full stomach and by cold temperatures. Pain may be accompanied by breathlessness, sweating, and nausea in some cases. Chest pain lasting only a few seconds is normally not angina. Angina usually lasts for few minutes which increases on exertion and relieves on rest. It is always advised to take ECG and consult the Cardiologist when there is indication of angina.


5. How much risk you have when experience anginal pain?

There is always a risk of myocardial infarction or heart attack when you have angina. So it should be evaluated with the Cardiologist. ECG and Angiogram are the tests advised for a patient who experience anginal pain.

Have healthy lifestyle. Prevent heart disease.

6.What are the risk factors that can cause angina?

Major risk factors for angina are the following factors. We should try to avoid these risk factors in order to avoid risk of angina and myocardial infarction.

cigarette smoking


high cholesterol

high blood pressure

sedentary lifestyle

family history of premature heart disease.

7. Is there a possibility that patient with angina can have normal coronary arteries?

Yes this is possible in some cases.

Prinzmetal’s angina is a type of anginal pain which occurs in presence of normal coronary arteries or insignificant atherosclerosis. It is caused by spasms of the artery. It occurs more in younger women.

8.What is the cause of angina?

Angina results when there is an imbalance between the heart’s oxygen demand and supply. This imbalance can result from an increase in demand (e.g., during exercise) without a proportional increase in supply (e.g., due to obstruction or atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries). When heart rate increases it needs more oxygen for metabolism. In a normal person it is achieved by increased blood flow in coronary arteries.

If there is a block in coronary artery then increased blood flow cannot be achieved due to obstruction in coronary arteries. So there is a demand -supply mismatch.This is called myocardial ischemia where oxygen supply to cardiac tissue is less than the demand.This causes anginal pain.

9.What investigations are advised for a patient with angina?

Patient should consult the cardiologist. Investigations advised are –



Troponin – I

Coronary Angiogram

10.What is coronary angiography?

Angiography  is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside, or lumen, of blood vessels. When it is done for coronary arteries it is called coronary angiography. This gives images suggestion percentage, location and numbers of obstructions in the coronary arteries.