Severe chest pain is the main symptom of variant angina. People with symptoms of the condition usually feel a pressure-like pain in or around the:
It may feel like a squeezing, pressing sensation in the chest.
Other symptoms of variant angina can include:
- Indigestion or heartburn-type sensation
- Shortness of breath
The severe pain or discomfort associated with variant angina:
- Usually occurs at rest
- Occurs between midnight and early morning hours
- Is relieved by angina medicine.
In order to diagnose this condition, your healthcare provider will ask a number of questions and perform a physical exam, looking for signs and symptoms. He or she will also recommend certain tests and/or procedures, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG) and a cardiac catheterization.
During the cardiac catheterization, the doctor will look for any artery that spasms when chest pain occurs. If he or she cannot find a suspect artery, medicine may be given that provokes a susceptible artery to spasm.
Before making a variant angina diagnosis, the healthcare provider will consider other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Some of these conditions include:
- Pulmonary embolism
- Peptic ulcer
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Muscle strain
- Acute aortic dissection.