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

Too Much Salt Puts Added Stress on Heart

Aug 17, 2017
A recent study confirms that consuming more than 3,700 mg of sodium daily taxes the heart.

New Guidelines Fine-Tune Heart Screenings in Young Athletes

Aug 17, 2017
Refined testing would save health care costs while still detecting serious heart conditions.

Free Online Tool Helps Predict Heart Risks in Young Adults

Aug 16, 2017
The Healthy Heart Score analyzes key lifestyle factors that affect heart health, like smoking, weight, exercise and diet.

Study Questions Routine Heart Tests in Healthy Patients

Aug 11, 2017

Despite recommendations against routine heart tests, one in five healthy Canadians receive ECGs after annual visit.

Many Adults Unaware of Their Need to Improve Heart Health

Jun 28, 2017

Study finds one in five adults at risk for heart disease feels no need to improve health.

Yo-Yo Dieting May Be Harmful for Patients with Heart Disease

Jun 06, 2017
Study links body weight fluctuation to increased risk for heart attack, stroke and death in patients with heart disease.

Coronary Artery Calcification Likely the Best Marker of Heart Health

May 16, 2017

Checking for calcium build-up in the heart’s arteries identifies patients at increased risk for heart disease, finds study.

Gum Disease and Tooth Loss Linked to Heart Risks in Older Women

May 10, 2017

Maintaining healthy gums may help reduce risk for heart disease.

CardioSmart News

Replacing Aspirin with Prescription Blood Thinner Appears Safe after Heart Attack

Apr 18, 2017

A stronger combination of blood thinners may be safe in heart attack patients, finds study.

Experts Help Clarify Who Should Take Fish Oil Supplements

Apr 13, 2017

Current research shows a lack of evidence to recommend fish oil supplements to the general population.

CardioSmart News

New Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Shows Promise for Patients with Heart Disease

Mar 28, 2017

PCSK9 inhibitors lower LDL and risk for heart complications, but access to the drug is an issue for many.

Excess Sodium is Leading Dietary Cause of Heart-Related Deaths

Mar 24, 2017

Consuming too much salt has a strong impact on mortality risk from heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Healthy Lifestyle Prevents Heart Events in Chinese Adults

Mar 08, 2017

A large Chinese study highlights the power of prevention.

Experts Raise Awareness of a New Lipid Disorder

Feb 06, 2017
Treating a lesser-known lipid disorder may help patients reduce risk for heart disease.

Heart Failure Rates on the Rise, Show Latest Statistics

Feb 01, 2017

While heart failure has become an increasing concern, overall death rates from heart disease declined by 25% in recent years.

Raising Awareness for Early Signs of Heart Attack

Jan 27, 2017

Most younger heart patients experience warning signs in the week before a heart attack but few take action, finds study.

Alcohol Abuse Doubles Risk for Heart Disease

Jan 21, 2017

The negative health effects of alcohol abuse are similar to that of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, finds study.

Healthy Lifestyle Helps Offset Genetic Risk for Heart Disease

Nov 15, 2016
For patients with high genetic risk for heart disease, healthy lifestyle choices nearly cut risk in half, finds study.

A New Strategy to Prevent One Million Heart Attacks and Strokes

Nov 04, 2016
Experts hope to reduce heart attack and stroke rates by coupling a new risk estimation tool with a new insurance model.

Aspirin Use Remains Controversial in Patients without Heart Disease

Oct 27, 2016

Weighing risks and benefits of daily aspirin for primary prevention of heart disease remains challenging.

Flu Vaccine Critical for People with Heart Disease

Oct 25, 2016
Experts argue that the flu vaccine could be life-saving.

Exercising While Angry Increases Risk for Heart Attack

Oct 20, 2016

The effects of extreme emotion and vigorous exercise on the heart are multiplied when combined.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 17, 2016

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in March 2017!

Young Adults May Lose Interest in Sex After Heart Attack

Oct 01, 2016
High stress levels and diabetes significantly increased patients’ chances of experiencing sex problems in the year after heart attack.

ACC Partners with Google to Share Reliable Heart Health Information

Sep 20, 2016
“Ask a Doctor” feature promotes patient-provider engagement.

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