How is acute coronary syndrome different from heart attack?

Expert Answers
dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The phrase acute coronary syndrome (ACS) refers to any event that suddenly interferes or impairs with blood flow though the coronary arteries. This could be the result of several conditions, for example:

1. angina pectoris - true cardiac chest pain due to ischemia. Usually relieved with nitrates and rest. Pain may become more severe as the disease progresses. Person may become acutely short of breath.

2. Prinzmetal's angina - true cardiac chest pain due to coronary artery spasm, highly unpredictable, causes severe crushing pain and pressure.

3. Congestive Heart Failure - because of pulmonary congestion in CHF, the myocardium is stressed and effective blood flow through the heart is compromised.

4. Pulmonary Embolism - clots that are traveling in the circulation are dangerous and will affect myocardial function.because pulmonary function is compromised.

If you have a heart attack, you may have had ACS first.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Heart attack is a type of acute coronary syndrome, which is frequently (but not always) a manifestation of coronary arterial disease. Different areas of the heart may be damaged, depending on the location of obstructions in the coronary circulation.

Acute coronary syndromes are the most serious complications of cardiovascular diseases, when the major risk factors of atherosclerosis (hypertension, dyslipidemia, abdominal obesity, diabetes, smoking, stress, sedentariness) lead, through cumulative effects, to coronary vascular damages and, finall, to acute coronary accidents: heart attack, fatal rhythm disturbances and sudden death.

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow is blocked. If blood is not pumped back into the heart immediately, the heart will be deprived of oxygen. The lack of oxygen affects the heart and the part of the heart, that is deprived of oxygen, may die. The final result is death, if the person does not receive immediate treatment.