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Acute Coronary Syndrome

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is acute coronary syndrome (ACS)?

ACS is sudden decreased blood flow to your heart. This causes a lack of oxygen to your heart and can lead to unstable angina or a heart attack.

Heart Chambers

What causes ACS?

ACS is caused by narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. Unstable angina occurs when part of the artery is blocked, or a clot gets stuck and then breaks free. A heart attack occurs when the narrowed artery becomes totally blocked, usually by a blood clot or plaque.

What increases my risk for ACS?

What are the signs and symptoms of ACS?

How is ACS diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. Tell him or her if you have any medical conditions and if you have a family history of heart disease. He or she may also ask about medicines you take. Any of the following may be used to diagnose ACS:

Which medicines may be used to treat ACS?

What are some other treatments for ACS?

In addition to medicines, your healthcare provider or she may recommend a procedure or surgery. He or she can explain the benefits and risks of each treatment. The following are commonly used to treat ACS:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to help manage or prevent ACS?

ACS cannot always be prevented. The following can help you manage ACS and may help prevent it if you have certain risk factors:

Prevent Heart Disease

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.