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

Understanding the Tobacco Control Act

May 02, 2013

A review of the law that helps protect the public against health problems caused by tobacco use.

Clinical Trials Shed Light on Minority Health

Clinical Trials Shed Light on Minority Health

Apr 26, 2013
Increasing minority participation in clinical trials can help ensure effectiveness and safety of drugs and devices for all Americans.

Binge Drinking Harms the Heart

Apr 23, 2013
A study highlights the negative impact that excessive drinking can have on the heart—even in young, healthy individuals.

Women Experience 'Typical' Heart Disease Symptoms, Too

Apr 19, 2013
Men and women with significant artery blockage are just as likely to experience typical symptoms—chest pain, pressure and tightness. Women differ, however, in how they describe their chest pain.

Save Money with These Prescription Drug Secrets

Apr 16, 2013

Following these tips and shopping around could help you save $100 or more a month depending on the drug.

Witnessing CPR Helps Reassure Family Members, Provides Closure

Apr 15, 2013

Researchers find that family members who observed CPR on their loved ones are significantly less likely to have post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. 

Sitting Increases Heart Disease Risk Regardless of Physical Activity

Apr 09, 2013
Activity and exercise are essential for health, but sitting for extended periods takes its toll nonetheless.
CardioSmart News

Research Sheds Light on How Long Anticoagulants Should Be Taken After Stenting

Apr 04, 2013
Patients taking clopidogrel (Plavix) for a long period don’t see any health benefits and actually have a higher risk of bleeding.

Heart Attacks Triple After Hurricane Katrina

Mar 10, 2013
Researchers say psychosocial effects of the disaster play an important role.

Despite Lifesaving Benefits, Fewer Women Than Men Get Cardiac Rehab

Mar 09, 2013
Women with coronary artery disease can improve their heart health and reduce their risk of dying from heart disease by attending cardiac rehabilitation.

Marriage Reduces Heart Attack Risk

Mar 06, 2013
A Finnish study finds that unmarried men and women were much more likely to have a heart attack than their married peers.

Do Financial Conflicts of Interest Impact Study Results?

Feb 21, 2013
According to a recent study, funding sources and conflicts of interest have no impact on the outcome of medical studies and trials.

Baby Boomers Less Healthy Than Previous Generation

Feb 19, 2013
A recent study finds baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, higher levels of disability and lower self-rated health than those born a generation prior.

Calcium Supplements May Increase Cardiovascular Risk in Men

Feb 19, 2013
While more research is needed, new findings show how calcium supplements could affect heart health in men.

CardioSmart Partners with Hospitals for National Heart Health Screening Day

Feb 14, 2013
CardioSmart is collaborating with hospitals nationwide to offer free heart health screenings to local residents.

American College of Cardiology Spotlights Heart Health Through Fashion

Feb 05, 2013
Live stream the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show and participate in other events for this national heart health awareness movement.
Spirit of the Heart

Spirit of the Heart—Helping Improve Your Community's Heart Health

Jan 29, 2013

Spirit of the Heart events offer heart disease screening and events in underserved communities.

Heart-Related Deaths Increase in Winter, but Not Due to Cold Weather

Nov 28, 2012

Climate is not to blame for the increase in cardiovascular deaths in winter.

Resources to Help You Compare Treatment Options

Nov 07, 2012
Guidance from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in making health decisions

Shift Workers at Increased Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Aug 03, 2012

Studies have shown that irregular work shifts are associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

Sleep Apnea Increases Cardiovascular Risk in Women

Sleep Apnea Increases Cardiovascular Risk in Women

Mar 20, 2012
Breathing interruptions during sleep increases cardiovascular risk in both men and women but can be treated in simple ways.
Can Air Pollution Trigger a Heart Attack?

Can Air Pollution Trigger a Heart Attack?

Mar 08, 2012
Air pollution may be behind more heart attacks than we think.
Women Less Likely to Have Chest Pain During Heart Attack

Women Less Likely to Have Chest Pain During Heart Attack

Feb 28, 2012
Atypical heart attack symptoms that every woman should know.
Heart Attack Treatment in Hispanics

Heart Attack Treatment in Hispanics

Feb 22, 2012
Disparities in heart attack treatment highlight need for quality improvement.
Inflammation and Heart Failure Risk

Inflammation and Heart Failure Risk

Jan 10, 2012
Study shows inflammation may increase risk for heart failure in men.

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