Spasm in a coronary artery

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Submitted by Dr T on June 19, 2013 – 12:54pm

Three weeks ago I start having chest pain, shortness of breath, light headed, and dizziness. I went to my medical doc who referred me to a cardiologist. I was examined, failed the stress test, and was scheduled  for a heart cath. After the heart cath my cardiologist said my arteries were clear, my heart was good, but a muscle in the back of my heart was having spasms. The cardiologist prescribed nitro for the pain or spasms. I’m afraid of the nitro if i’m not having a heart attack but yesterday the spasms started and today I’m at home because of the pain/spasms. I’m not sure what to do? I’m not even sure what a heart muscle spasm is I can’t find any information? Is it serious?
(Image from Mayo Clinic)
Hi Regina,
I assume it was spasm in a coronary artery. The condition is called Prinzmetal’s Angina. NTG is an appropriate treatment. Prinzmetal’sangina is treated with medications, specifically nitroglycerin (NTG)long-acting nitrates, and calcium channel blockers, all of which widen or open the blood vessels and improve blood and oxygen flow to the heart muscle. Calcium channel blockers are generally prescribed first. If you continue to experience episodes of chest pain, then a different class of calcium channel blocker or a long-acting nitrate may be given.
Since smoking is a particular cardiac risk, you should stop if that is the case. Another risk, coronary artery disease, has been excluded with the heart catherization.
Hope this helps,

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