Prinzmetal Angina (Coronary Artery Spasm)

Morning everyone. Like you, I'm fascinated by this illness which joins us all together. Does anyone here, (apart from me), suffer from Prinzmetal Angina (Coronary Artery Spasm).

It shows itself as crushing chest pain and mimics a heart attack or Angina Pectoris.

It differs from the above two insofar as it does not show on an ECG, (it is not a, 'heart attack'), and there is little or no significant blockage, when examined by an angiogram, unless the cardiologist, having reached a conclusion of, "no angina pectoris", has the knowledge to then stimulate and artificially induce a CAS.

Also, unlike angina pectoris, it is not exercise/exertion related and comes on during periods of rest. It is also of greater time duration than angina pectoris and, if the artry spasms sufficiently, can close off the artery completely, causing instantaneous death.

I've had it all my life. It is one of those unpredictable incidents which can be seperated by weeks, months or even years and it is yet another of those complaints that, if you're dealing with a doctor with insufficient awareness, is diagnosed as, 'stress', 'posture', or, 'It's all in your mind'.

Bearing in mind studies old and new which have linked FM to constant excitation of the , 'fight or flight', response and constant excitaion of the connective ligament fascia, is this another of those FM markers?

My wife tells me, that she has often watched me, when I am asleep or awake and has noticed constant or intermittent twitching at unrelated parts of my body. Is this another piece of the puzzle?

3 Replies

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  • Twitching, spasms in any/every muscle sounds like fm to me. That chest crushing pain, twice I've been 999 to hospital with suspected heart attack. Heart tracings proved not so, and then each time the wave of horrendous pain built and crashed over me, they injected morphine, which gradually brought it under control. Within an hour or so I was back to 'normal' (for me). Does this sound like Coronary Artery Spasm to you?

  • I'm not a doctor but like most people, I am a member of this forum because we have all found out how little doctors seem to know about FM and many other things.

    Most doctors do their job very well, 'within the box', but again, we all know that with ailments, diseases and, 'syndromes', outside of their, 'comfort zone', they are far to ready to go down the path of, "I cant find it, so it's all in your mind or you're faking it to get attention/get time off work/get compensation/get benefits."

    We really haven't moved far from, diagnoses of, 'ill humours', 'excess blood', or, 'demonic possession'!.

    If you get the crushing pain, you must always, always, call an ambulance. They will carry out an ECG on you, on the spot and if it's not a heart attack, they will tell you.

    They will take you to your local hospital, usually but not always, A&E who will carry out another ECG as well as recording your SATS, GCS etc.

    If you go to your GP with these symptoms, they may, at some point, start to talk about Angina. At this point it is very important to let your GP know clearly and unequivocally, whether the pain is brought on by exercise or whether it occurs at rest or in bed. Although you aren't going to feel like doing it, either yourself or get a family member or friend to note how long the attack lasts, when it happens.

    If your attack is not exercise related and your GP does not raise the topic then I would suggest that you ask them whether they have considered Coronary Artery Spasm / Prinzmetal Angina, as the source of your pain. If you are referred to a Cardiologist and particularly if an Angiogram is being considered, then ask them directly whether after testing for Angina Pectoris, do they intend to test for CAS? I make no broad statements about doctors, particularly Specialists but you may feel it beneficial to take a friend along with you to any such meetings, perhaps to take note of exactly what has been discussed.

    There are a lot of good sites out there with information about heart problems.

    My favourite is to the Australian Heart Foundation heartfoundation.org.au/

    and then follow the link to heartfoundation.org.au/Site... for a simple and readable .pdf document about CAS.

    The above is simply my personal view, based on my own experiences. I hope it helps somebody, somewhere. Never, ever however fail to consult, listen to and act on the the advice of trained medical professionals, something which, I again must reiterate, I am not.

  • I am a Fibromyalgia patient and have been experiencing angina like pains for past few years. Only recently the doctors have diagnosed it as possible Coronary spasm.

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