Angina Pectoris Unstable

         Basic Facts

  • Angina results from a condition called coronary heart disease, an accumulation of plaque inside the coronary blood vessels that causes a reduction in blood flow to the heart.
  • The discomfort or tightness associated with angina results from ischemia, or the lack of oxygenated blood reaching the heart.
  • Angina experienced at rest is called unstable angina because of the unpredictable onset of heart pain. Angina that occurs during or after physical exercise or emotional stress is called stable angina because of the predictable pattern of events that strain the heart and result in heart pain.
Angina pectoris is chest pain or discomfort. A person may feel pain when insufficient oxygen-rich blood reaches the heart muscle. This reduced blood flow is caused by coronary heart disease, an accumulation of plaque inside the coronary blood vessels. 

Angina that occurs unpredictably or during rest is called unstable angina. Sometimes, unstable angina can result from a temporary blood clot that suddenly blocks blood flow to the heart. The pain subsides when the clot dissolves and blood flow resumes.

If a person has experienced angina after exertion, called stable angina, and angina symptoms begin to last after exercise or occur at rest, the angina may have become unstable angina. This usually means an artery has narrowed further, often because of a blood clot. 

If an episode of unstable angina is the first instance of angina a person experiences, it is called new onset unstable angina. Unstable angina attacks are a sign of more severe heart disease.

Angina Pectoris, Unstable FAQ