Health A-Z

Acute coronary syndrome

Clinical Definition

Acute coronary syndrome is an umbrella term for a group of coronary artery diseases associated with sudden blockage of the blood supply to the heart muscle. Acute coronary syndrome is a medical emergency.

In Our Own Words

Acute coronary syndrome is a medical emergency describing a group of conditions, including a possible heart attack, in which the blood supply to the heart muscle is blocked suddenly. The decreased blood flow to the heart often results in symptoms such as chest pain or tightness radiating to the left arm or jaw. If the affected heart muscle cells go without nourishment for too long, they become damaged permanently, leaking cardiac markers, which can be detected in the blood.

The different types of acute coronary syndrome are determined using blood tests for cardiac markers and electrocardiography. In addition to the heart attack, ACS includes unstable angina, typified by an unpredictable chest pain that is more serious than stable angina.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Chest pain
  • Pain in one or both arms, neck, back, stomach, jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
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