Acute coronary syndrome refers to a range of conditions caused by reduced blood flow to a part of the heart.
Blockage of blood may be complete or partial, and could result in a heart attack or unstable angina.
It is a medical emergency and should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Treatment of this syndrome depends on various factors like symptoms, the health condition of the patient, and the signs presented.
Acute coronary syndrome is categorized into different types based on the location of the block, extent of blockage, and the length and time of block.
In some cases, other symptoms like abdominal pain, dizziness, and fatigue may also occur.
If not treated early, acute coronary syndrome causes heart attacks.
It is very important to get immediate medical attention, as this may lead to cardiac arrest.
Accumulation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels is the most common cause of acute coronary syndrome.
These fat deposits, also known as plaques, reduce the lumen of blood vessels and thus the passage of blood through them.
Heart attack or angina results when the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently to different parts of the body. In many cases, the surface of a plaque breaks and stimulates the formation of blood clots within the artery.
Plaque in combination with the blood clot reduces the flow of blood considerably through the vessel. As this happens, it may lead to a heart attack.
Some other not-so-common conditions may also lead to blockage in the blood vessel. This includes:
A blood clot from another part of the body moving to the artery, supplying the heart muscle
Spasm of a coronary artery due to cocaine use
Complication in treatments such as heart surgery
Other problems regarding the heart
4 Making a Diagnosis
Making diagnosis of Acute coronary syndrome is done by several tests.
An electrocardiograph helps to trace the pattern of how the heart is working and then distinguishes other forms of chest pain from acute coronary syndrome.
Blood tests are used to check the level of troponin, the chemical released from the damaged heart muscle.
Higher levels of troponin in the blood indicates a heart attack, while the levels remain unchanged in unstable angina.
Other tests are also recommended such as:
Echocardiogram – this test is used to identify and assess the damage done by a heart attack
Nuclear scan – this helps to check the blood flow to the muscles of the heart
CT angiogram – this test identifies blockage in the arteries
Stress test – this test measures the response of blood vessels that are strained
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