What Is Myocardial Ischemia?

Myocardial ischemia, also called angina, refers to symptoms (such as chest pain or discomfort) caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. The pain may also occur in your:
 
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Back.
 
Most people with angina have coronary artery disease, with narrowed arteries due to atherosclerosis. When arteries are narrowed, blood flow to the heart is reduced. More than 6 million people in the United States have this condition.
 
The three types of myocardial ischemia have different symptoms and treatment options:
 
  • Stable angina occurs when the heart is working harder than usual and generally goes away with rest
  • Unstable angina is dangerous and requires emergency treatment
  • Variant angina occurs at rest and can be relieved by medicine.
 
(Click Angina for more detailed information on what myocardial ischemia is, including risk factors for developing this condition.)
 
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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