Encyclopedia of Heart Diseases

2011 Edition
| Editors: M. Gabriel Khan


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-60761-219-3_11


Pain or discomfort in the chest, throat, jaw, or arms caused by severe, but temporary, lack of blood and oxygen to a segment of the heart muscle defines angina pectoris.

Angina is caused by coronary artery disease (CAD), often referred to as coronary heart disease (CHD).
  • Obstructive CAD causes ischemia, a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the heart muscle; thus, the condition is also called ischemic heart disease (IHD).

  • Angina affects men aged 40–55 more commonly than women, and the underlying disease condition is not surprisingly referred to as “the widow-maker.” Angina and other CAD events occur much later in women (between age 60–80).

  • Atherosclerosis ( atheroma) of the coronary arteries causes obstruction of blood flow and deprives the heart muscle of blood. Obstructive atheromatous CAD leads to stable or unstable angina, fatal or nonfatal  myocardial infarction (MI), sudden death,  heart failure,  arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, and thromboembolism that may cause stroke.


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