Acute coronary syndrome

Acute coronary syndrome is an umbrella term used to describe the sudden blockage or reduction of blood flow to the heart. This is a very serious situation that requires immediate medical attention.

Acute coronary syndrome falls into two categories: Unstable angina and non-Q wave myocardial infarction, otherwise known as a heart attack. Unstable angina results in chest pain that is more frequent, severe or prolonged than a patient’s typical angina symptoms. It can occur at rest or with minimal exertion, and may be difficult to control with drugs. Angina (which is chest pain) that has recently begun also can be classified as unstable. Non-Q wave myocardial infarction results in chest pain similar to unstable angina. But it also is accompanied by a rise in cardiac enzyme concentration, which can be detected via blood tests, though often without marked changes on a patient’s electrocardiogram. Patients with acute coronary syndromes are at high risk of a heart attack and death.