Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) include common and high-risk conditions such as unstable angina, which can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in women, the elderly and diabetics. Early identification and appropriate management can significantly reduce the risk of death, morbidity and subsequent hospital admissions. This article aims to clarify what happens in ACS, how they present and how they should be managed.
Angina is a common problem in primary care, affecting around one in every six patients aged 65 years and over. It is predominantly chest pain due to transient myocardial ischaemia caused by coronary artery disease. Episodes of angina are typically caused by exertion or emotion, and are relieved by rest. Treatment with drugs and/or surgery that improves blood flow to the heart and lifestyle changes can significantly improve patients' quality of life and survival.
In the first study of its kind, gene therapy has been found to be feasible and well tolerated in patients with refractory angina. Treated patients showed increased myocardial perfusion at 1 year in the areas that had impaired myocardial perfusion reserve at baseline.
Refractory angina affects approximately 5-10% of patients with angina. Sufferers are significantly disabled by their symptoms, which are made worse by fears about what is happening to them. They are frequent attenders in GP surgeries, hospital outpatient departments and emergency admissions units. Patients who take part in an Angina Management Programme (AMP) that provides education, stress management and relaxation feel better, live longer and are able to avoid unnecessary invasive tests and palliative revascularisation procedures. AMPs can be effectively commissioned and delivered in primary care.
Controlling heart rate is a key element of good care of patients with angina or heart failure. In this article we explore the benefit of effective heart rate control to reduce hospitalisation and alleviate symptoms. Measuring heart rate is simple, and can provide valuable benefits for many patients.
Angina is on the increase as people live longer. It is the most common symptom of ischaemic heart disease and occurs when the arteries are no longer able to supply the heart with enough blood to meet its demands. Treatment aims to restore the balance between oxygen supply and demand, to relieve the pain as quickly as possible and prevent further angina attacks, to treat the risk factors, limit the progression of coronary artery disease and reduce the risk of a heart attack. Procoralan (ivabradine) works by specifically inhibiting the If or 'funny' channel in the sinoatrial node of the heart (also known as the cardiac pacemaker) to reduce the resting heart rate, matching the efficacy of beta-blockers without their side-effects.
Stable angina is very common. Just under two million people in the UK – over one million men and 840,000 women – have, or have had, angina. In this article we review how new-onset stable angina is assessed, including an update on new investigations, and the latest treatment options including drugs and interventions, based on the most up-to-date guidelines and current practice.
Approximately 5% of adults aged over 40 years have stable angina, appear on our coronary heart disease (CHD) registers and are recalled at least annually for reviews. People with angina are often prescribed four or more regular items, and it is widely believed that patients are more likely to take their medicines effectively when they agree to their prescription and feel involved in decision-making. The medication review involves patients in prescribing decisions, and supports them in taking their medicines most effectively, so improving health outcomes and satisfaction with their care.
Angina is common, particularly among older people. It affects around one in ten women and up to one in five men aged 65 and over. The good news is that the outlook for patients with stable angina is relatively good as long as we help them to take appropriate prevention measures. Unstable angina has a more variable prognosis, but effective prevention can again help to reduce the risk of heart attack. How can we optimise the diagnosis and ongoing care for the many people in our practices with angina?