Acute Coronary Syndrome – Overview, Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and more

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Acute coronary syndrome is a type of syndrome that describes a series of conditions associated with low blood flow to the heart.

One such condition is heart attack (myocardial infarction) —which happens when there is a blockage in the arteries.

Acute coronary syndrome shows symptoms like chest pain or chest discomfort. Treatment for this condition includes improving blood flow, preventing future problems and treating complications.

Symptoms of Acute coronary syndrome

Some of the well-known symptoms of the acute coronary syndrome include:

  • Chest pain
  • Pain in shoulders, arms, upper abdomen
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • dizziness or fainting
  • Feeling restless or apprehensive

Causes of Acute coronary syndrome

Acute coronary syndrome is often caused due to the buildup of fatty deposits in and around the walls of coronary arteries. When the oxygen supply is too low, cells of the heart muscles can die. The death of cells may result in damaging muscle tissues.

Unstable angina occurs when acute coronary syndrome doesn’t result in cell death.

Risk factors of Acute coronary syndrome

The risk factors for acute coronary syndrome include the following:

  • Aging
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Diabetes
  • COVID-19 infection

Diagnosis of Acute coronary syndrome

The doctor will likely order several tests if you have signs or symptoms associated with the acute coronary syndrome. Some of the tests include:

Electrocardiogram (ECG). Electrodes are compactly attached to your skin to measure the electrical activity in your heart. Abnormal or irregular impulses and blockage can be swiftly detected using ECG.

Blood tests. Certain enzymes may be detected with the help of blood tests. A positive result in the blood test indicates a heart attack.

Apart from these tests, other tests may be done to learn more about your condition. This test helps your doctor personalise your treatment as well as diagnosis.

Echocardiogram. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce a live image of your heart. An echocardiogram checks the pumping of the heart.

Myocardial perfusion imaging. This test determines how well blood flows through your heart muscle. This test involves the injection of a tiny substance into your blood. A specialised camera takes images of the heart.

Computerised tomography (CT) angiogram. A CT angiogram uses specialised X-ray technology to produce multiple images of the heart and can detect blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.

Stress test. A stress test is done only when there are no signs of acute coronary syndrome or another life-threatening heart condition.

Treatment of Acute coronary syndrome

Some of the treatments given for acute coronary syndrome are:

Physical exercises

  • Relieve pain and distress
  • Improve blood flow
  • Restore heart function
  • Long-term treatment aim to improve overall heart function and mitigate the risk of heart attack.


Depending on your diagnosis, medications for acute coronary syndrome may include the following:

Thrombolytics – Dissolves blood clot blocking an artery.

Nitroglycerin – Prevent blood clots from forming.

Beta blockers – Relax your heart muscle and slows your heart rate. Examples include metoprolol and nadolol.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors – Widen blood vessels and improve blood flow, allowing the heart to work better.

Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) – Controls and normalise blood pressure.

Statins – Lowes the amount of cholesterol moving in the blood and may stabilise plaque deposits, making them less likely to rupture.

Surgery and other procedures

A doctor or surgeon may recommend any one of the following procedures to restore blood flow to your heart muscles:

Angioplasty and stenting – In this procedure, your doctor inserts a long, tiny tube into the blocked or narrowed part of your artery.

Coronary bypass surgery. In this surgery, a surgeon takes a piece of a blood vessel (graft) from one part of the body and creates a new route for blood that goes around a blocked coronary artery.

Home remedies

A heart-healthy lifestyle is very vital for preventing heart attacks. Some of the home remedies are the following:

Don’t smoke. If you smoke, try quitting it promptly.

Eat a heart-healthy diet. Eat a diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Be active. Get regular exercise and stay physically active.

Check your cholesterol. Avoid high-fat, high-cholesterol meat and dairy.

Control your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly. Take blood pressure medicine daily if your doctor recommends it.

Maintain a healthy weight Excess weight contributes to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Drink alcohol in moderation. If you drink alcohol, limit your consumption or it can raise blood pressure.

When to see a doctor?

If you have sudden chest pain or any symptoms related to acute coronary syndrome, get emergency care immediately

Summing up

Acute coronary syndrome complications depend on the specific condition and its severity, including the extent of heart muscle damage. Timely diagnosis and treatment are the best way to the acute coronary syndrome.

Discuss your ongoing care to understand what you can do to reduce risks and prevent complications.

If you had a heart attack, your provider could recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program to regain strength and improve your heart health.


What are the three immediate treatments for acute coronary treatment?

1 ·Thrombolytics – Dissolve a blood clot that’s blocking an artery.
2 ·Nitroglycerin – improves blood flow by enlarging blood vessels.
3 ·Anti-platelet drugs help prevent blood clots from forming.

What drug should be given right away for suspected acute coronary syndrome?

Morphine is often given to acute coronary syndrome (ACS) due to its effect.

Is acute coronary syndrome curable?

Yes, preventing and treating acute coronary syndrome is possible with the proper medication.

Can you live a long life with CAD?

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is treatable, but there is no cure, and you must learn to live with it for the rest of your life.

What is the survival rate of acute coronary syndrome?

According to the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (GRACE), the mortality rates for patients with ACS and those with unstable angina are 13% and 8%, respectively.

How long does it take to recover from CAD?

The recovery will probably take roughly 6 to 12 weeks.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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