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Things To Know About Unstable Angina

Angina is a type of heart disorder where your heart muscle doesn’t get as much oxygen-rich blood as it should, usually due to plaque blockages or blood clots in one or more of your heart’s arteries. Unstable angina is a form of chest pain that often has no pattern and worsens with time. It might come suddenly when you’re at rest, unwinding, or even asleep, or it can happen after relatively little physical exertion.

A substantial danger of having a heart attack exists if you don’t receive immediate treatment for unstable angina. Many people who have heart attacks have weariness, breathlessness, or unstable angina days or weeks earlier.

The presence of angina, even if it is for only a few seconds, should be evaluated by your doctor. This is to determine if it could mean that you have coronary artery disease. The following information will help you better understand unstable angina and how to treat it and its symptoms.

Symptoms of Unstable Angina

Chest discomfort or pain is the primary symptom of angina. Depending on the individual, the feeling may change.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Sharp chest discomfort that extends to your upper limbs (often on the left side) 
  • Back that feels crushing, pressure-like, squeezing, or sharp

What Causes Unstable Angina?

Coronary artery disease caused by atherosclerosis is the most common cause of unstable angina. Atherosclerosis is the term for the buildup of fatty material on the walls of arteries, or plaque. arteries become more stiff and narrow as a result. The reduction in the blood flow to the heart may cause pain in the chest. People who have unstable angina are more likely to get a heart attack. You are at risk for coronary artery disease because of:

  • A high cholesterol level.
  • Not working out.
  • Blood pressure being high.
  • Being a senior citizen.
  • Having a family history of early heart disease.
  • Diabetes diagnosis.
  • Smoking.
  • Being overweight

Variant or Prinzmetal angina, a rare kind of unstable angina, is brought on by coronary artery spasms (a momentary contraction of the muscles in the artery wall that supplies blood to the heart).


Your physician will do a physical examination, which will involve taking your blood pressure. To confirm unstable angina, they could perform further testing, such as:

  • Blood tests: To look for cardiac biomarkers (such as troponin) and creatine kinase that leak from your heart muscle if it is injured
  • Heart catheterization and coronary angiography: These procedures are used to examine the condition and size of your arteries.
  • ECG: To identify heartbeat irregularities that could point to decreased blood flow
  • Angiography: By using computed tomography To obtain pictures of your heart that show signs of blood flow issues, using echocardiography.
  • Stress tests:  Which make your heart work harder and help diagnose angina

In order to determine whether your angina is unstable, your doctor will administer coronary angiography to see if there are any artery narrowings or blockages.

Treatment of Unstable Angina

The improvement of coronary artery blood flow is the main objective of treatment for unstable angina.

Both medicine and surgery are available as treatments.

The effectiveness of several of these approaches will depend on how severe the unstable angina is.

Medication for Unstable Angina

  • Aspirin:  Aspirin and other anti-platelet drugs lessen your blood’s tendency to clot, which facilitates blood flow through congested heart arteries.
  • Nitrates: Nitrates are frequently used to treat angina because they relax and enlarge blood arteries, allowing more blood to reach your heart muscle. When used as tablets or sprays, nitrates swiftly ease the pain. Additionally, there are skin patches and long-acting nitrate tablets.
  • Beta-blockers: These counteract the effects of the adrenaline-like hormone epinephrine. They assist your heart in beating more gradually and gently, reducing the effort required by your heart and reducing angina discomfort.
  • Ranolazine (Ranexa): Along with other angina drugs like beta blockers, this anti-angina medicine may be administered. If the other prescriptions don’t help your symptoms, you can potentially use them as a replacement.
  • Statins: By preventing a chemical required by your body to build cholesterol, statins reduce blood cholesterol. They may also assist your body in reabsorbing cholesterol that has collected in plaque buildup on the arterial walls, preventing additional blood vessel obstruction.
  • Calcium channel blockers: These medications, also known as calcium antagonists, relax and expand blood vessels by impacting the muscle cells lining the arteries. This improves cardiac blood flow and lessens or eliminates angina.

 treatment of Unstable Angina


A person with unstable angina can require surgery to clear artery obstructions. Given below are some of the surgeries done for unstable angina.

Angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention, a surgeon inserts a tiny inflated balloon, a stent, or both into the artery. This can enhance blood flow and keep the artery open.

During the procedure:

  • Typically, a skin incision is made, local anesthetic is administered, and a hollow needle is introduced into the artery through an artery in the groin, wrist, or arm.
  • Once the catheter has been implanted, it is moved through the blood to the blocked artery while being continually monitored by an x-ray imaging device.
  • In order to prevent the artery from becoming blocked or narrowed at the same location after angioplasty, doctors employ stents. If the stent is utilized, a new catheter with a balloon and stent is attached. The stent is permanently removed from the blood artery.
  • Coronary artery bypass graft operation, a blood vessel is used to make a path around the blocked portion of the artery.

During the procedure:

  • Prior to beginning the coronary artery bypass grafting, your surgeon will provide an anesthetic. 3 to 6 hours may pass during the procedure. 
  • To allow you to breathe comfortably throughout the surgery, a breathing tube is placed in your mouth and connected to a ventilator. Your heart won’t beat while the procedure is being performed due to the drugs the surgeon will provide. 
  • A device called a heart-lung will continue to circulate blood and oxygen throughout your entire body in the meantime. A blood artery (referred to as a graft) is taken from elsewhere in your body and joined to one end of the major aorta. 
  • The artery below the obstruction will be joined to the opposite end. Your surgeon could conduct one or more bypass surgeries at the same procedure if you have several blockages.
  • Your surgeon will remove you from the machine once the procedure is complete and then secure the wire around your chest. When the chest bone has entirely healed, the wire is then removed.

Things you need to be aware of – The advantages of the medication your doctor has prescribed for you outweigh the dangers, despite the fact that side effects might occur from time to time. Without consulting your doctor, stopping your medicines suddenly might result in a heart attack and the risks associated with surgery will depend on your age and other medical conditions.

Make sure to take any medications that your doctor has prescribed for you. Make lifestyle adjustments, such as eating better, exercising, and giving up smoking or using tobacco products.

Bottom Line

You should not make a decision while you are suffering from chest discomfort. Make an appointment with a physician as soon as possible. Angina that is unstable may indicate an imminent heart attack. Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions regarding lifestyle changes and medication intake. Make careful to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes under control. Take any prescription medications as directed by your doctor.

If you want any help in locating India’s Greatest Cardiologist, be sure to follow us; MedsurgeIndia will provide you with the best accessible treatment choices at the most competitive price in the world.

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