Acute Coronary Syndrome

Immediate treatment can help prevent a heart attack.

Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief

Know the symptoms

Your heart muscle needs oxygen and nutrients to work the way it should.

If the arteries supplying the heart (called the coronary arteries) become narrowed or blocked, the heart muscle can be starved of oxygen-rich blood. If this happens very suddenly, as is the case with heart attack, it can be very serious.

Acute coronary syndrome is a medical term used to describe problems that occur when there isn’t enough blood flow to the heart. Heart attack and unstable angina (sudden chest pain that typically occurs when someone is at rest) are two examples. 

If you are having a heart attack, you might feel pain or pressure in your chest; have shortness of breath; feel nauseated or have discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Dial 9-1-1 right away. Time is muscle. Every second you delay means more damage to your heart—it could also be the difference between life and death. 

The treatment you receive will depend on your symptoms and test results that can show how much your arteries are blocked. There are many things you can do to protect your future heart health. Use this condition center to learn more about acute coronary syndromes. You can keep up with the latest research, find questions to ask your doctor, and get tips to help you feel your best.

Acute Coronary Syndrome News & Events

Taking Care of Your Teeth Benefits Heart Health

May 08, 2019
Frequent tooth brushing and dental visits could reduce risk for heart disease, finds study of a large Korean registry.

Implantable Monitor Identifies Heart Attacks Earlier, Reduces Delay in Treatment

May 01, 2019
“Symptom-to-door” time—how long it takes to get to hospital after symptoms arise—is reduced by nearly half in study of high-risk patients.
CardioSmart News

Interval Training Gets Patients in Shape After a Heart Attack

Apr 03, 2019
Workouts alternating between low- and high-intensity help patients in cardiac rehab trim excess abdominal fat.

Study Links E-Cigarettes to Heart Attacks, Heart Disease and Depression

Mar 07, 2019

U.S. survey study links e-cigarette use to increased risk for heart problems and a host of other health issues.

Flu Shot Helps Prevent Heart Attack

Mar 07, 2019
A study of 30 million patients shows the flu vaccination reduces risk for heart attack by 10% in patients after hospitalization.

Latest Statistics Say Nearly Half of Americans Have Some Form of Heart Disease

Feb 19, 2019
An annual report from the American Heart Association explains the rise in heart disease rates and emphasizes prevention.

Experts Highlight the Strong Link Between Depression and Heart Disease

Feb 19, 2019
Given high rates of depression among heart patients, experts encourage better screening and treatment for mental health.

Smoking, Hypertension and High Cholesterol are Common in Young Adults Suffering First Heart Attack

Feb 07, 2019
Nearly all 1.5 million study participants had at least one modifiable risk factor.

A New Tool Helps Predict Heart-Health Benefits from Diabetes Treatment

Jan 22, 2019
Risk prediction tool could aid patients in treatment decisions for type 2 diabetes.

Study Supports Enhanced Screening Prior to Invasive Heart Disease Imaging

Jan 10, 2019

Better screening could reduce unnecessary tests and procedures in patients being evaluated for heart disease, study finds.

Women Wait Longer to Seek Treatment for Heart Attack, Study Finds

Jan 10, 2019

Experts urge women to call 911 at first signs of heart attack, based on study that highlights delays in treatment.

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk for Heart Events in Women

Dec 19, 2018
Study finds that the Mediterranean diet reduces cardiovascular risk by minimizing inflammation, controlling blood sugar and promoting a healthy weight.

Study Supports BMI as a Screening Tool for Heart Health

Dec 19, 2018

The simple ratio of height to weight can identify young adults with increased health risks.

Women with Heart Disease Report Worse Treatment and Patient Satisfaction Than Men

Dec 19, 2018

Women are less likely to be taking preventive medicines and seek care at the ER more frequently.

Top CardioSmart News Articles of 2018

Dec 13, 2018

This year's most read patient summaries worth a second look.

Fluctuations in Weight, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Spell Trouble for Heart Health

Oct 23, 2018

Maintaining good health reduces risk for heart attack, stroke and death, shows Korean study of 6.7 million adults.

Racial Health Disparities Persist at Hospitals Across the Country

Sep 20, 2018

Analysis of U.S. hospital data shows that systemic issues may be to blame for health care disparities.

Anxiety and Depression Boost Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

Sep 19, 2018
Australian study finds that adults with high levels of anxiety and depression are at greater risk of life-threatening heart events.
CardioSmart News

An Update to European Guidelines for Managing Heart Disease During Pregnancy

Sep 18, 2018

Updated guidelines incorporate new research to minimize complications in women with heart disease.

CardioSmart News

Study Questions Fish Oil and Daily Aspirin in Healthy Diabetic Adults

Sep 05, 2018

Recent findings fail to support use of fish oil supplements and low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease in adults with diabetes.

Children Should Avoid Diet Drinks, Advise Experts

Aug 15, 2018

Experts can’t say with certainty that artificially sweetened drinks are safe, based on a recent advisory from the American Heart Association.

Study Supports Exercising Outdoors Despite Air Quality Concerns

Aug 15, 2018

Danish study finds that the benefits of exercise far outweigh the potential risks from exposure to air pollution.

Resuming Work After Heart Attack Linked to Better Outcomes

Jul 20, 2018

Study finds that heart attack survivors who don’t return to work tend to face poorer health, financial hardship, signs of depression.

Marriage Helps Protect the Heart

Jul 20, 2018

Study of more than 2 million adults finds that being married significantly reduces risk for heart attack, stroke and death.    

Erectile Dysfunction Associated with Increased Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Jul 13, 2018
Men with erectile dysfunction should discuss their risk for heart disease with their clinician.

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