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Coronary artery spasm

  • Alternative Names

    Variant angina; Angina - variant; Prinzmetal's angina


    Treatment

    The goal of treatment is to control chest pain and prevent a heart attack. A medicine called nitroglycerin can relieve an episode of pain.

    Your health care provider may prescribe other medications to prevent chest pain. You may need a group of medicines called calcium channel blockers long-term. Your doctor may prescribe long-acting nitrates along with the calcium channel blockers.

    Beta-blockers are another type of medication that may be used. However, in some cases, beta-blockers may be harmful (especially if used along with cocaine).


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    Expectations (prognosis)

    Coronary artery spasm is a chronic condition. However, treatment usually helps control symptoms.

    The disorder may be a sign that you have a high risk for heart attacks or potentially deadly irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). The outlook is generally good if you follow your doctor's treatment recommendations and avoid certain triggers.


    Complications
    • Abnormal heart rhythms, which may cause cardiac arrest and sudden death
    • Heart attacks

    Calling your health care provider

    Immediately call your local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the hospital emergency room if you have a history of angina and the crushing or squeezing chest pain is not relieved by nitroglycerin. The pain may be due to a heart attack. Rest and nitroglycerin do not completely relieve the pain of a heart attack.

    A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, seek immediate medical help.