Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is a set of features related to poor blood flow to the heart muscle that leads to a heart attack. This results in chest pain or angina pectoris. ACS is a serious, life-threatening condition. If you think you have ACS, seek emergency medical treatment.
ACS is caused by a sudden blockage of the coronary arteries. These blood vessels carry blood to the heart muscle. The blood flow to the heart muscle is either greatly reduced or completely blocked. This leads to heart muscle damage or death from a heart attack.
The narrowing most often happens from years of plaque build-up in an artery. This is called atherosclerosis . Blood clots may often cause of the narrowing arteries.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
ACS is more common in men over 45 and women over 55 years old.
Factors that increase your risk of developing ACS include:
ACS is serious. It requires emergency medical treatment. Contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If you suspect ACS, call for emergency medical services.
Your bodily fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with blood tests.
Your heart function may need to be tested. This can be done with:
Detailed images of your heart may need to be taken. These can be done with:
If you are having a heart attack, doctors will:
To restore blood flow, the main treatments are:
To help reduce your chances of getting ACS:
American College of Cardiology
American Heart Association
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Achar SA, Kundu S, et al. Diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2005; 72:119-26.
Acute coronary syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 15, 2014. Accessed August 11, 2014.
Alexander KP, Newby LK, et al: Acute Coronary Care in the Elderly, Part I. Circ . 2007;115:2549-69.
Anderson JL, Adams CD, et. al. ACC/AHA 2007 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Unstable Angina/Non-ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007;50;e1-e157.
Cohen M, Diez JE, et al. Pharmacoiinvasive management of acute coronary syndrome: incorporating the 2007 ACC/AHA guidelines: the cATH (cardiac catherization and antithrombotic therapy in the hospital) Clinical Consensus Panel Report-III. J Invasive Cardiol. 2007:18:525-40.
Heart attack: Tips for recovering and staying well. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/treatment/tips-for-recovering-and-staying-well.html. Updated March 2014. Accessed August 11, 2014.
Large GA. Contemporary management of acute coronary syndrome. Postgrad Med J. 2005; 81:217-222.
Swap CJ, Nagurney JT. Value and limitations of chest pain history in the evaluation of patients with suspected acute coronary syndromes. JAMA. 2005;294:2623-9.
Walker CW, Dewley CA, Fletcher SF:Aspirin combined with clopidogrel (Plavix) decreases cardiovascular events in patients with acute coronary syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2007;7:1643-5.
What is angina? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Angina/Angina_Treatments.html. Updated June 1, 2011. Accessed August 11, 2014.
7/7/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: O'Donoghue M, Boden WE, et al. Early invasive vs conservative treatment strategies in women and men with unstable angina and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2008;300:71-80.
Last reviewed August 2014 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2012 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.
What can we help you find?close ×