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"Prinzmetal" refers to a rare condition called Prinzmetal's angina (also called variant angina). This condition accounts for only about 2 out of every 100 cases of angina. People with Prinzmetal's are often younger than those with other forms of the condition.
Unlike other types of angina that usually occur in someone with coronary artery disease (also called CAD or heart disease), Prinzmetal's angina may occur in people with or without coronary artery disease.
Prinzmetal's is caused by a spasm in a coronary artery, which causes the walls of the artery to tighten. This narrows the artery, causing the blood flow to the heart muscle to slow or stop. Treatment for the condition generally involves medication, such as nitroglycerin.
Severe chest pain is the main symptom of Prinzmetal's angina. People with the condition often report a pressure-like pain in or around the chest, shoulders, or jaw. It may also feel like a squeezing, pressing sensation in the chest.
The severe angina pain or discomfort associated with the condition:
  • Usually occurs at rest
  • Occurs between midnight and early morning hours
  • Is generally relieved by angina medicine.
(Click Prinzmetal's Angina for more information on the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for this condition.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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