Coronary spasm is a sudden and temporary narrowing or tightening of a small part of a coronary artery. (The coronary arteries are the arteries that bring blood to the heart.) When the spasm happens, your heart temporarily does not get enough oxygen and you feel a type of chest pain called angina.
This type of chest pain may also be called Prinzmetal's angina, atypical angina, or variant angina.
Doctors don’t know why the spasms happen.
Symptoms of coronary spasm include:
Your healthcare provider will examine you and may order an ECG (electrocardiogram, also called an EKG). An ECG records your heart rhythms. The recording may show certain changes when you have pain. You may wear a small, portable ECG recorder called a Holter monitor to record your heart rhythm for 1 to 3 days.
You may also need a stress or treadmill ECG. During this type of ECG, the activity of your heart is recorded while you exercise on a stationary bike or treadmill.
You may need a coronary angiogram. This special X-ray uses a dye to make pictures of the arteries. It can show blockages in the arteries. Sometimes it can show areas of spasm. During the test, medicine may be injected into your arteries to start a spasm.
The goal of treatment is to prevent or control symptoms. You and your healthcare provider will develop a treatment plan that includes:
The effects will last as long as the cause of the spasm exists or until the spasm responds to medicine.
To help take care of yourself:
To help prevent problems with coronary spasms, reduce your risk for heart disease as much as possible by also: