Chest pain and risk of coronary artery disease, Prinzmetal’s angina

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Submitted by Dr T on September 9, 2011 – 8:50am

I have been experiencing chest pain for several years. Went to the ER in 2006 with this pain. They admitted me because my EKG was abnormal but said that enzymes were normal. They first told me I was having an acute heart attack before doing the tests. Had a heart cath and it was negative for blockage. When I received copies of the hospital reports it was indicated that I had Angina. They didn’t put me on any meds for that. I have had recurring pain since then. It usually starts in my right jaw, radiates to the neck and then to the chest and arm. I recently had another stress test, pulmonary function test and chest xrays. Still, no indication of heart problems except for the angina. This pain happens at various times, whether I am active, sitting, sleeping and especially happens if I get upset. The pain is relieved with nitroglycerin tabs. I really need answers. Is it simply Angina?

Angina is caused by insufficient blood supply to your heart, usually because of blockages in your coronary arteries. If you don’t have blockages, you don’t have angina!

However, there is a condition called Prinzmetal’s angina, caused by coronary artery spasm. Prinzmetal’s angina is often diagnosed with an ECG (electrocardiogram or EKG) during an episode of chest pain.

You may want to discuss this with your doctor, but if (as I suspect), Prinzmetal’s angina has been excluded as the cause of your pains, you may want to look for other reasons:

You also may want to check your risk for heart disease.

Last but not least, if you smoke, stop (Prinzmetal’s angina is made worse by smoking)!

Hope this helps,
Dr T

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