Acute Coronary Syndrome
Bangalore Baptist Hospital
Hebbal, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
What Is Acute Coronary Syndrome?
Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is a term given by doctors for various heart conditions, including a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and unstable angina. These conditions occur due to reduced amount of blood flowing to a part of the heart. The type of acute coronary syndrome is determined by the location of the blockage, the length of time that blood flow is blocked, and the amount of damage caused.
What Causes Acute Coronary Syndrome?
The majority of cases are due to narrowing of blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This is usually due to the presence of some atheroma within the lining of the artery. Atheroma are fatty patches or plaques that develop within the inside lining of arteries. (This is similar to water pipes that get furred up).
Plaques of atheroma may gradually form over a number of years in one or more places in the coronary arteries. Each plaque has an outer firm shell with a soft inner fatty core.
Various other uncommon conditions can also block a coronary artery. For example: inflammation of the coronary arteries (rare); a stab wound to the heart; a blood clot forming elsewhere in the body (for example – in a heart chamber) that travel to a coronary artery where it gets stuck; taking cocaine, which can cause a coronary artery to go into spasm; complications from heart surgery and some other rare heart problems.
Who Is At Risk Of Having Acute Coronary Syndrome?
Patients at risk ofdeveloping acute coronary syndrome include those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or those who have a family history of the condition and those who are overweight or inactive.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acute Coronary Syndrome?
The symptoms include severe chest pain, often a heavy pressure on your chest. The pain may also travel up into your jaw and down your left arm, or down both arms. You may also sweat; feel sick or faint, or feel short of breath.
What Tests Are Usually Done For Acute Coronary Syndrome?
- A heart tracing called an electrocardiograph (ECG)
- A blood test that measures a chemical called troponin
What Is The Treatment For Acute Coronary Syndrome?
Various treatments are given and these usually depend on the type of acute coronary syndrome. Treatment is primarily aimed at restoring the blood supply to the affected area either by lysis of the clot or by introduction of a stent into the occluded vessel.