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Coronary Artery Disease – Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of angina can range from no symptoms - silent coronary artery disease (CAD) - to mild intermittent chest pain, to pronounced steady pain:1,2

  • angina may feel like pressure or squeezing pain in the chest. It may also occur in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back
  • shortness of breath

Other symptoms of angina may include:2,3

  • a feeling of indigestion or heartburn
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • nausea, vomiting and sweating
  • palpitations

Some patients, for example women and older patients, may have different angina symptoms including:3

  • fatigue
  • weakness

Distinguishing patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) within the large number with suspected cardiac pain is a diagnostic challenge, especially in those lacking clear symptoms or electrocardiographic features.4 Refer to European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines4,5 for more details.

It should be noted that some HIV-infected patients may have ischemic heart disease (IHD) that is asymptomatic. In one study, ECG evidence of asymptomatic IHD was common in HIV-infected adults, and was more frequent than actually having a history of symptomatic IHD.6 

Screening tools may be used to assess angina:




Find out more about Diagnostic tools 




References

  1. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Accessed 28 February 2011. 
  2. Guidelines on the Management of Stable Angina Pectoris. The Task Force on the Management of Stable Angina Pectoris of the European Society of Cardiology, 2007. Accessed 18 April 2011.
  3. MedlinePlus: Stable angina. Accessed 28 February 2011. 
  4. European Society of Cardiology Full Guidelines and Pocket Guidelines on Management of Acute Coronary Syndromes in Patients Presenting without Persistent ST-Segment Elevation (2007). Accessed 3 May 2011.
  5. European Society of Cardiology Full Guidelines and Pocket Guidelines on Management of Acute Myocardial Infarction in Patients Presenting with ST-Segment Elevation (2008). Accessed 3 May 2011.
  6. Carr A, Grund B, Neuhaus J, et al. Asymptomatic myocardial ischaemia in HIV-infected adults. AIDS. 2008;22:257–267. 
  7. 7. Lawlor DA, Adamson J, Ebrahim S. Performance of the WHO Rose angina questionnaire in post-menopausal women: are all of the questions necessary? J Epidemiol Community Health. 2003;57:538–541.