Angina (or angina pectoris) is chest pain that is caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle. Your doctor calls this insufficient blood flow "myocardial ischemia."

What are the symptoms?

People with angina pectoris may experience pain in different ways.

  • Chest pain
  • Feeling of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the chest
  • Increased pain when emotional or anxious
  • Increased pain during exertion
  • Pain in the back, neck, jaw or shoulders
  • Pain in the arms, especially the left arm
  • Pain in the upper abdomen

How is it treated?

Before your chest pain can be treated, your doctors will need to determine its cause. Several tests may be done, including an electrocardiogram (ECG), stress test, or angiogram.

In many cases, chest pain is caused by coronary artery disease. In coronary artery disease, plaque builds up on the walls of your arteries, restricting blood flow to your heart.

When this happens, doctors at URMC are able to provide several possible treatments.

Medication. Patients with early coronary artery disease may obtain good results from treatment with various medications.

Balloon angioplasty. A thin catheter is inserted through a blood vessel in your leg. It is then threaded up to the blockage. A tiny balloon is then inflated, pushing fatty deposits to the sides of the blood vessel and restoring blood flow to your heart. URMC also offers laser angioplasty, which breaks down plaque with a laser.

Stent placement. A stent—a miniature wire-mesh tube—can be used to open up a blocked artery. Stents are placed during a minimally-invasive procedure.

Bypass. In a coronary artery bypass graft, a blood vessel from another part of your body is used to go around, or bypass, a blocked artery that supplies your heart.

What is URMC's approach?

URMC Cardiology offers all of the most advanced treatments available for angina pectoris and coronary artery disease. We are the only institution in the area that is part of an academic medical center, so we are involved in the latest research on heart disease.

Who should I contact?

If you experience sudden or unexplained chest pain, call 911.

If you have been experiencing regular chest pain or pressure, call your cardiologist. Or call URMC Cardiology at (585) 275-2475.


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