Coronary artery spasm : Treatment

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to control chest pain and prevent a heart attack. A medicine called nitroglycerin can relieve an episode of pain.

Your health care provider may prescribe other medications to prevent chest pain. You may need a group of medicines called calcium channel blockers long-term. Your doctor may prescribe long-acting nitrates along with the calcium channel blockers.

Beta-blockers are another type of medication that may be used. However, in some cases, beta-blockers may be harmful (especially if used along with cocaine).

Prognosis (Expectations)

Coronary artery spasm is a chronic condition. However, treatment usually helps control symptoms.

The disorder may be a sign that you have a high risk for heart attacks or potentially deadly irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). The outlook is generally good if you follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations and avoid certain triggers.

Complications

  • Abnormal heart rhythms, which may cause cardiac arrest and sudden death
  • Heart attacks

Calling Your Health Care Provider

Immediately call your local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the hospital emergency room if you have a history of angina and the crushing or squeezing chest pain is not relieved by nitroglycerin. The pain may be due to a heart attack. Rest and nitroglycerin do not completely relieve the pain of a heart attack.

A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, seek immediate medical help.


Review Date : 4/28/2009
Reviewed By : Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Private practice specializing in Cardiovascular Disease, Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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