Acute Coronary Syndrome

Immediate treatment can help prevent a heart attack.

JoAnne M. Foody, 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

Registry Programs Improve Quality of Care and Outcomes

Nov 18, 2013
Lessons learned from the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines” program.

Sleep Apnea Hinders Recovery After Heart Attack

Nov 18, 2013
Study finds sleep-disordered breathing impairs healing after a heart attack.

Sudden Cardiac Death Rare in Women

Nov 13, 2013
Study finds that sports-related sudden cardiac death is much lower in women compared to men.

FDA Targets Trans Fat in Processed Foods

Nov 07, 2013
The FDA has issued a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils—the major dietary source of trans fat in processed food—are no longer "generally recognized as safe."

Take Our "Thanks for Quitting" Challenge

Nov 01, 2013
CardioSmart's "Thanks for Quitting" Challenge is here to help you become smoke-free on or after the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 21.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Patient Contest

Oct 28, 2013

Tell us how you are CardioSmart and living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip to Washington, DC.

Flu Shot Curbs Cardiovascular Risk

Oct 23, 2013
The seasonal flu shot is life-saving for patients at high risk for heart disease.

Is Surgery Safe for Stent Patients?

Oct 18, 2013
Study suggests that patients with stents should wait six months to undergo elective surgery to reduce risk of complications.

Widespread CPR Education Improves Survival Rates

Oct 18, 2013
National program in Denmark increased CPR bystander rates and tripled survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest.

Comparing Life-Saving Procedures from a Patient Perspective

Oct 18, 2013
Trial compares quality of life in diabetic patients undergoing revascularization procedures CABG and PCI.

Few ICD Patients Utilize New Safety Feature

Oct 04, 2013
Study finds less than half of patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators are using remote patient monitoring.

Aspirin Underutilized in Angioplasty Patients

Oct 03, 2013
Despite its protective effects, many patients undergoing angioplasty don’t receive aspirin.

Popular Estrogen Therapy May Increase Cardiovascular Risk

Sep 30, 2013
Study finds that the most-prescribed estrogen therapy may increase risk for blood clots and heart attack compared to other medications.

A Healthy Heart in Your Golden Years

Sep 27, 2013
CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief JoAnne Foody writes about a few key steps that we should all take to boost heart health.

Tour de France Riders Live Longer, Study Finds

Sep 24, 2013
Elite cyclists live longer and have lower risk of death compared to average adults.

Registry Program Sheds Light on Quality of Care

Sep 23, 2013
A report on data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry highlights success stories and areas of improvement in cardiovascular care.

Sudden Cardiac Death Risk Low Among High School Athletes

Sep 23, 2013
Study urges against widespread screenings to help prevent sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

Healthy Diet Boosts Chances for Survival After Heart Attack

Sep 17, 2013
Study finds that improved eating habits add years to survivors' lives.

Heart Attack Symptoms Differ in Younger Men and Women

Sep 17, 2013
Gender differences in heart attack symptoms—especially for those under 55—highlight the importance of recognizing warning signs and seeking immediate care.

Does It Cost More to Eat Healthy?

Sep 17, 2013
Increased food costs discourage adults from adhering to blood pressure-lowering diet, according to a recent study.

Innovative Anti-Smoking Campaign a Success

Sep 11, 2013
First federally funded anti-smoking campaign helps smokers quit with tips from former smokers.

E-Cigarettes: Helping Smokers Quit?

Sep 10, 2013
Study finds e-cigarettes are more effective than patches in helping smokers kick the habit for good.
CardioSmart News

Preventive Measures May Save Heart Attack Patients

Sep 09, 2013
Performing a more extensive angioplasty could effectively treat heart attacks and help prevent future ones.

Coca-Cola Family Track Walk in Chicago

Sep 04, 2013
Members of the American College of Cardiology's CardioSmart team will be at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15 to share tips on heart health and the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Predicting Risk Among Angioplasty Patients

Aug 27, 2013
Study helps estimate the danger patients face when undergoing angioplasty.

Get CardioSmart

You're Invited

CardioSmart Points

Log in to Check Your Balance
and Go Shopping

Learn how to earn more CardioSmart Points