Angina pectoris is chest discomfort that is caused by a lack of oxygenated blood supply to the heart muscle, or what we term myocardial ischemia.
Symptoms are often described as a tightness or squeezing, a viselike grip, pressure, or a burning sensation, usually in the mid chest region. Epigastric discomfort or radiation of pain to the left or both arms is not uncommon.
Symptoms may last for minutes before subsiding and if brought on by activity are usually dissipated by resting or stopping.
These symptoms may indicate the presence of coronary artery disease, or blockages in the blood vessels to supply the heart with blood. An obstruction in one or several of these vessels can lead to symptoms of angina pectoris. To determine if a patient has this problem, we can perform test that can help us to confirm or exclude this diagnosis. These include non invasive testing such as, exercise stress test, stress echocardiography, rest/stress myocardial perfusion imaging and all if necessary invasive cardiac catheterization with coronary angiography.
If you are experiencing one or several of these symptoms and are concerned that you may have angina pectoris, see your health care provider for appropriate evaluation.