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Firstly, it is important to differentiate angina from coronary artery disease! Angina or Angina Pectoris if we are to use the formal name, is a symptom resulting from coronary artery disease. It is derived from Greek....interpreted as Chest Pain. In our culture, this chest pain has become synonymous with the pain experienced when coronary artery disease results in a reduced blood flow to heart muscle. This pain is often described as a central chest tightness exacerbated by exertion and relieved by rest. It can spread to the jaw and be accompanied by nausea and sweating. Only 50% of people with coronary artery disease will have Angina. A CT angiogram will clearly show coronary disease or coronary artery narrowing, and is now used as a first line investigation of chest pain or as a screening procedure in symptom free individuals.
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Chest pain at rest, often at night. The mechanism is contraction of muscles in walls of coronary arteries which leads to insufficient supply of oxygen to heart muscle and generates typical ECG changes (ST elevations rather than depressions in 'normal' angina). However, nocturnal chest pains may have many other reasons, e.g. reflux of stomach acid and oesophageal spasm.
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