What are the diagnostic procedures?
To diagnose an angina pectoris attack, the symptoms are first determined in an anamnestic interview. In this context, particular emphasis is placed on physical resilience and the symptoms that depend on it. The physical examination is usually unremarkable, but sometimes signs of a vascular calcifying disease can be found.
These include flow noises in the carotid arteries, an absence of foot pulses. The ECG is used in apparatus-based diagnostics. This is often inconspicuous at rest and is therefore usually performed under additional stress.
Angina pectoris attacks, severe breathlessness and oxygen deficiency as well as drops in blood pressure can occur. In addition, there are pathological changes in the electrical currents in the heart, which are depicted in the ECG. As a rule, an ultrasound of the heart is used for further diagnosis.
This so-called echocardiography is often also carried out at rest and under stress, as here too, especially under stress, indications of angina pectoris disease can be found. An image of the vessels in an MRI examination is also used for diagnosis. If angina pectoris symptoms persist, a cardiac catheter examination is also performed. This has diagnostic value on the one hand, but can also be used to treat the disease. You can find further information here: Exercise ECG
What does the acute therapy look like?
For acute therapy of an angina pectoris attack, a nitro spray is usually used. This contains nitroglycerine, which releases nitric oxide (NO) in the body. The NO acts on the muscle cells of the vessel walls and leads to a relaxation of these cells.
As a result, the coronary vessels dilate and better blood circulation is possible. An angina pectoris attack can thus be stopped very quickly. Since it can be very difficult for laypersons to distinguish between a seizure and a heart attack, an emergency doctor should be called.
This doctor can carry out further measures. These include the administration of oxygen. Fluid and various medicines can also be administered directly to the affected person via a venous access.
For example, the administration of sedatives may be necessary if the pain is accompanied by anxiety or panic during an angina pectoris attack. As soon as the first symptoms of a seizure are noticed, any physical exertion must be stopped immediately. This is the only way to reduce the performance that the heart has to provide. If the seizure is the consequence of stable angina pectoris, the administration of nitroglycerine may already be sufficient as acute therapy. If the angina pectoris is unstable, subsequent inpatient treatment is necessary for further clarification and a change in medication.
What can I do to prevent another seizure?
The prevention of an angina pectoris attack has many components. On the one hand, it is necessary to improve the general situation of the cardiovascular system. This includes a change in lifestyle (healthy and balanced eating habits, sufficient exercise, quitting smoking) as well as the treatment of all other diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus = diabetes, hypercholesterolemia = high blood fat values, etc.).
On the other hand, specific risk factors such as partial stenosis (blockage) of coronary arteries should be eliminated. Emergency medication such as nitro spray can be used to treat an emerging seizure before it really breaks out. The causes of an angina pectoris attack could help you to prevent another attack: Cause of angina pectoris