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Angina pectoris refers to a strangling or pressure-like pain caused by cardiac ischemia. The pain is usually located substernally but is sometimes perceived in the neck, shoulder and arm, or epigastrium. Women develop angina at a later age than men and are less likely to have classic substernal pain. Drugs used in angina exploit two main strategies: reduction of oxygen demand and increase of oxygen delivery to the myocardium.

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Angina of effort, classic angina, atherosclerotic anginaAngina pectoris (crushing, strangling chest pain) that is precipitated by exertion
Vasospastic angina, variant angina, Prinzmetal's anginaAngina precipitated by reversible spasm of coronary vessels, often at rest
Coronary vasodilatorOlder, incorrect name for drugs useful in angina; some potent coronary vasodilators are ineffective in angina
"Monday disease"Industrial disease caused by chronic exposure to vasodilating concentrations of organic nitrates in the workplace; characterized by headache, dizziness, and tachycardia on return to work after 2 days absence
Nitrate tolerance, tachyphylaxisLoss of effect of a nitrate vasodilator when exposure is prolonged beyond 10–12 h
Unstable anginaRapidly progressing increase in frequency and severity of anginal attacks; an acute coronary syndrome that often heralds imminent myocardial infarction
PreloadFilling pressure of the heart, dependent on venous tone and blood volume; determines end-diastolic fiber length and tension
AfterloadImpedance to ejection of stroke volume; determined by arterial blood pressure and arterial stiffness; determines systolic fiber tension
Intramyocardial fiber tensionForce exerted by myocardial fibers, especially ventricular fibers at any given time; a primary determinant of O2 requirement
Double productThe product of heart rate and systolic blood pressure; an estimate of cardiac work
Myocardial revascularizationMechanical intervention to improve O2 delivery to the myocardium by angioplasty or bypass grafting
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Types of Angina

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Atherosclerotic Angina

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Atherosclerotic angina is also known as angina of effort or classic angina. It is associated with atheromatous plaques that partially occlude one or more coronary arteries. When cardiac work increases (eg, in exercise), the obstruction of flow and inadequate oxygen delivery results in the accumulation of acidic metabolites and ischemic changes that stimulate myocardial pain endings. Rest usually leads to complete relief of the pain within 15 min. Atherosclerotic angina constitutes about 90% of angina cases.

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Vasospastic Angina

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Vasospastic angina, also known as rest angina, variant angina, or Prinzmetal's angina, is responsible for less than 10% of cases. It involves reversible spasm of coronaries, usually at the site of an atherosclerotic plaque. Spasm may occur at any time, even during sleep. Vasospastic angina may deteriorate into unstable angina.

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Unstable Angina

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A third type of angina—unstable or crescendo angina, also known as acute coronary syndrome—is characterized by increased frequency and severity of attacks that result from a combination of atherosclerotic plaques, platelet aggregation at fractured plaques, ...

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