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

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.

Study Confirms the Heart-Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Jul 13, 2018
A second analysis reconfirms the results of a Spanish study demonstrating that a Mediterranean diet including olive oil and nuts can reduce heart risks. 

Health Literacy is Critical to Heart Disease Prevention

Jun 29, 2018
An American Heart Association statement addresses health literacy as a barrier to heart health. 

Loneliness is Bad for the Heart

Jun 29, 2018
A lack of social support is linked to poorer health outcomes in heart patients.

OB/GYNs are Critical to Helping Fight Heart Disease in Women

Jun 12, 2018

Experts ask obstetricians and gynecologists to help educate their patients about heart disease.

Calculations of Cardiovascular Risk are Outdated, Study Finds

Jun 12, 2018

New Zealand study finds current tools greatly overestimate 5–year risk of developing heart disease.

Advances in an Alternative Procedure to Open Heart Surgery

Jun 07, 2018

Recent medical statement highlights the evolution of percutaneous coronary intervention and for which heart patients it is most appropriate.

California Wildfires Tied to Uptick in Heart Events

May 09, 2018
Statewide study shows increased heart-related hospital visits during the 2015 wildfire season.
CardioSmart News

Wearable Defibrillators Provide Temporary Fix for Heart Attack Patients

Apr 10, 2018
The device could be lifesaving for heart attack patients at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

Raising Awareness for Heart Attacks Caused by SCAD

Apr 03, 2018
Experts highlight a common cause of heart attack in young, healthy women.

Marijuana and Cocaine are Risky for Heart Attack Survivors

Mar 22, 2018

Heart attack survivors with a history of marijuana and cocaine use have worse long-term survival, finds study.

Heart Attacks Often Follow Extreme Temperature Changes

Mar 07, 2018

Climate change may increase heart attack risk, a Michigan study suggests.

CardioSmart News

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Makes Heart Attack Twice as Likely

Mar 06, 2018
Individuals with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are encouraged to discuss their heart disease risk and prevention strategies with their health care team.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking Far Outweigh Risks of Weight Gain

Feb 04, 2018
Smokers should not hesitate to quit smoking.

Current Guidelines Fail to Identify Young Adults at Risk for Early Heart Attack

Jan 22, 2018
Study highlights a missed opportunity for providing preventive treatment to young adults.

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