Acute Coronary Syndrome

Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) is a term given to a variety of conditions when there is a sudden decrease in blood flow to the heart muscle because of a blockage of one or more coronary arteries. A variety of clinical manifestations, including unstable angina and myocardial infarction (heart attack), might result from this. ACS is a medical emergency that needs to be diagnosed and treated promptly.

Within the ACS spectrum, there are three primary conditions:

  1. Unstable Angina: This is the mildest type of ACS. It happens when a coronary artery is partially blocked, causing a temporary reduction in blood flow to the heart muscle. Unstable angina is defined by chest pain or discomfort that may occur while at rest or with little effort, and it frequently serves as a warning indication that a heart attack may be on imminent. In contrast to a heart attack, unstable angina usually does not result in long-term heart muscle damage.
  2. Non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI): An NSTEMI happens when a coronary artery is partially blocked, causing some heart muscle damage. Usually, this is determined by blood tests that reveal increased cardiac markers, such as troponin, which indicate heart muscle injury. An ST-segment depression or a shift in the T-wave on the ECG may indicate NSTEMI.
  3. ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI): The most serious type of ACS is a STEMI. It happens when a coronary artery is completely blocked, severely damaging the heart muscle. To restore blood flow to the damaged artery and lessen cardiac muscle damage, immediate intervention is needed, such as angioplasty, stent implantation, or thrombolytic therapy. The main diagnostic characteristic of an ECG is often ST-segment elevation.

Typical symptoms of ACS include:

  • Angina, which can cause chest pain or discomfort that radiates to the arms, neck, jaw, shoulder, or back.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Cold sweats.
  • Weakness or dizziness.


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