Angina is the term given to a cramp-like pain or heaviness felt mainly in the chest and left arm. It occurs when not enough blood is reaching the heart. However, you may experience angina pain in both arms, in your shoulders, back, jaw or throat. You may also feel short of breath and tired.

Angina often occurs during exercise, after a heavy meal, on exposure to very cold weather, during sexual intercourse or during angry or excited moments. These activities may cause your heart to beat faster or your coronary arteries to become even narrower than usual. When this happens the narrowed arteries let even less blood and oxygen reach your heart muscle and this causes pain.

However, angina can also occur at rest. Angina can be relieved by taking Glyceryl Trinitrate (GTN) tablets or using a GTN spray under your tongue. The heart muscle is not usually damaged.

Read more about refractory angina

Coronary angiogram

A coronary angiogram is a test used to look at the main arteries that supply the heart with blood and oxygen, known as the coronary arteries.

Coronary angioplasty

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure to unblock a coronary artery. A catheter (flexible tube) with a small balloon at the end is inserted through an artery in the groin or arm. The balloon...

Contact information

Dr Ranil De Silva - Consultant cardiologist
Tel: 020 7351 8626

Christine Wright - Clinical nurse specialist in angina 
Tel: 020 7351 8645


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