SYMPTOMS of ACUTE CORONARY SYNDROME
- Chest discomfort that is described as pressure, squeezing, or heaviness in the chest that may radiate or spread down the shoulder and arm or to other areas, such as the back, jaw, neck.
- In patients with angina, their attacks may occur more frequently, at lower levels of exertion or at rest.
ACS can also present with other symptoms such as:
- Abdominal symptoms such as pain often mistaken for heartburn, nausea and vomiting.
- Trouble breathing.
- Palpitations or a sensation if the heart racing or pounding.
- Feeling weak or very tired.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). An EKG can detect signs of poor blood flow and determine the type of heart attack that is occurring. It can also detect evidence of previous heart muscle damage and arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythms.
- Blood tests to look for biochemical evidence of myocardial cell damage. When the heart muscle cell or myocardial cell dies it releases its contents that can then be detected in the blood.
- In certain situations an echocardiogram or myocardial perfusion study can be performed.
- If necessary, coronary angiography or cardiac catheterization can also be performed. This is the most accurate method of determining whether a coronary artery is obstructed.
Abraham Salacata, MD, FACC