Coronary Heart Spasms/Micro Vascular ... - British Heart Fou...

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Coronary Heart Spasms/Micro Vascular Angina


Coronary Heart Spasm/ Micro-Vascular Angina

Is anybody else suffering from this debilitating condition? I have it on a daily basis and since recording the episodes from 11th February, I have had over 50 spasms. I'm due to have a 6th stent, but nobody's hurrying to do it. I feel unsupported and frightened. I feel that my crushing pains are underestimated. I have become housebound because the cold weather can trigger a spasm. However, it is during the night that I am awoken with intense pain, usually 2-3 times. I feel sleep deprived because I can't get back to sleep. I feel very depressed by it all. Sorry to sound so miserable....but that is now another symptom!!

5 Replies
MilkfairyHeart Star

Hello Rathone1941

Welcome to the forum.

I have lived with coronary vasospastic angina for nearly 8 years.

Vasospastic angina is the term now being used to describe coronary artery spasms.

I also have vasospasms in my Microvessels so Microvascular angina.

How has your MVA and Vasospastic angina been diagnosed?

It can be trial and error to find the best treatment and stents do not necessarily help the situation as they are best at opening up permanently blocked coronary arteries.

The usual treatment for vasospasms is with medication such as calcium channel blockers such as Diltiaziem and Amlodipine.

Nitrates are also helpful. Whilst beta blockers can make vasospasms worse.

Learning your triggers is very important.

Common ones are the cold, emotional and mental stress.

The BHF has this information about vasospastic and microvascular angina.

There are quite a few of us here on the forum living with either MVA and or VSA. I am sure they will be along too to share their experiences.

Thank you for your speedy reply. I should have mentioned that I am taking Aspirin, Diltiazem, Isosorbide Mononitrate, Clopidigrol, Candesartan, Rosuvastatin and Lanzoprazole. I read that antioxidants can help, so I take VitaminC, Vitamin E. Also, a Magnesium supplement.

It is comforting to know that other people understand this awful condition. I used to love going to bed with my book, but not any more.

Again, thank you for your kind reply.


MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Rathbone1941

It is a challenging condition.

Very few people understand just how painful it can be and how this can effect our mental well being.

It is like being in labour except you don't get a baby at the end.

I often get woken up at night too.

Rather than read I listen to Podcasts, music or relaxation and meditation tracks.

I use this free app it has loads of different ideas to help.

I like listening to nature sounds such as rain falling or whales singing 🐳😊

Hello Milk Fairy, my MVA diagnosis was made after careful consideration of my symptoms. I had an angiogram in January 2020 and whilst it was noted then that there was a narrowing in one of my small vessels, nothing was done . Because my spasms have since increased and worsened, it has been decided to stent the narrowed small artery. I received a phone call today and am having the procedure done this Thursday. So whilst this condition is usually treated with medication, I may see some improvement with the stent. My 6th stent!

How were your vasospasms and microvascular angina diagnosed? I'm very interested to know. How have you managed to cope and accept it for 8 years? What medication are you taking to relieve your vasospasms? Do you use a GTN spray during the night? After a spasm I'm left with a residual pain and usually take painkillers. The whole episode lasts for about 25/30 minutes, often 2-3 times a night.

Thank you for the tips on podcasts, relaxation and meditation. Your input is very much appreciated and helpful. Before I go, do you think that certain personality types are more prone to our condition? I've read a few medical papers and they have mentioned that taking antioxidants can help. Also, magnesium supplements have been mentioned.

Again, thank you.

MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Rathbone1941


I had an angiogram with acetylcholine which was injected into my coronary arteries.

Normal blood vessels should dilate mine didn't my small and large vessels all went into spasm.

As well as vasospasms the other possible cause of MVA is due to the small blood vessels failing to dilate microvascular dysfunction.

Some newer perfusion MRIs can detect this type of MVA.

MVA and vasospastic angina are complex conditions and the treatment differs depending on the underlying cause.

I have met quite a few other people with the condition we are all different personalities.

I also have other symptoms such as a severe ice pick headache, numbness of my face and sensitivity to light and sound when I have a severe episode of chest pain.

Noise and light are painful for me.

These are thought to be by my Neurologist and Cardiologist due to vasospasms in my brain.

My worst nightmare is a busy ward during visiting time!

I am on 2 calcium channel blockers, isosorbide mononitrate, nicronadil,statins and clopidogrel. I also use oxygen at night which helps with the pain.

I also use a TENS machine and go to bed with 2 hot water bottles every night.

I don't use GTN spray as it works but then I get worse rebound pain afterwards. However I would try and see if it works for you.

I attended a pain management programme and I see a psychologist regularly to help me manage.

It can be difficult as many healthcare professionals do not have much knowledge about the condition and just how painful it can be. Nobody can see your pain.

I manage my stress through Tai Chi, yoga and Mindfulness meditation.

I really hope that the treatment you have been offered works for you.

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