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

More Research Needed to Understand Role of Statins in COVID-19

Mar 27, 2020

If you are taking a statin for an underlying heart condition or to lower your chance of developing heart disease, continue to do so unless directed otherwise by your health care professional.

Cancer treatment

Statins for Breast Cancer? Maybe for Some.

Mar 23, 2020

Popular cholesterol-lowering drug linked to a lower chance of treatment-related heart failure.

High blood pressure

Alarming Uptick in Deaths Linked to High Blood Pressure, Study Shows

Mar 23, 2020
Rising death rates affect all demographic groups, with the rural South hardest hit.
Coronavirus

Heart Patients Warned of Risks from Coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020

People with heart disease seem to be at higher risk of developing serious illness from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Long-Term Use of Evolocumab to Treat FH is Safe and Effective, Study Shows

Mar 02, 2020
New type of treatment, called a PCSK-9 inhibitor, can lower cholesterol in people with familial hypercholesterolemia.
Marijuana

Highlighting the Concerns of Marijuana's Effects on the Heart

Feb 07, 2020
Marijuana use is associated with cardiovascular problems and can interfere with common heart medications, according to a review article.

More Research Needed to Achieve Health Equity in Preventive Care

Jan 26, 2020

Experts identify gaps in knowledge about how to put proven services into practice.

Top CardioSmart News Articles of 2019

Dec 18, 2019

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

Study Probes the Benefits of Routine Depression Screening in Heart Attack Survivors

Oct 28, 2019
Screening and treatment fails to improve outcomes among heart attack survivors.

Dog Owners Recover Better After Heart Events, Study Shows

Oct 21, 2019

The social support and physical activity that come with dog ownership can lead to better health outcomes after heart attack or stroke.

Lowering Triglycerides to Reduce Heart Risks

Oct 07, 2019

Study confirms cardiovascular benefits of lowering triglycerides with therapies including an omega-3 fatty acid.

Staying Young at Heart: It's Never Too Early to Start Healthy Habits

Oct 03, 2019

Expert recommendations help healthy individuals prevent heart disease.

Diet Soda and Sugary Drinks May Affect Lifespan, Study Finds

Sep 29, 2019
Two or more sodas a day shown to increase risk of death in nearly half a million Europeans.

Too Much and Too Little Sleep Increases Heart Attack Risk

Sep 17, 2019

Getting six to nine hours of sleep a night may reduce risk for heart attack.

Consumption of Plant-Based Proteins Could Add Years to Your Life

Sep 17, 2019

Study suggests that we eat plenty of plant-based foods, while limiting red and processed meat.

Not All Plant-Based Foods are Created Equal

Sep 13, 2019
Just because a food is vegetarian does not mean it promotes health and longevity. 

Binge Watching TV is Worse for the Heart Than a Desk Job

Jul 15, 2019

Study links TV watching, but not seated work, to increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Cholesterol Disorder Overlooked in Many Young Heart Attack Patients

Jun 19, 2019

Familial hypercholesterolemia is overlooked and undertreated.

Air Pollution Shortens Lifespan by Two Years

Jun 19, 2019

A new model suggests that death toll from air pollution is twice as high as initial estimates.

Study Supports Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment in All Adults with Diabetes

Jun 04, 2019
Intensive blood pressure treatment isn't just for high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes.

Ability to Stand and Walk Helps Identify High-Risk Elderly Adults After Heart Attack

Jun 03, 2019

Experts develop a risk model to identify which elderly adults are likely to experience complications after a heart attack.

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

Heart Attack Rates on the Rise in Young Adults

Mar 27, 2019

One in five young heart attack survivors is under 40.

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.