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December 22, 1956


Author Affiliations

Consulting Cardiologist, the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York.

JAMA. 1956;162(17):1542-1544. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970340032011

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Only one generation ago, the diagnosis of "angina pectoris" was tantamount to the issuance of a death warrant. At that time, the severe, frequently excruciating pain that the patient suffered, the little understood prevention of the disease, and the condition's inadequate treatment engendered fears that could not reasonably be dispelled. In addition, cases of sudden death or severe heart attacks preceded by chest pain with normal three-lead electrocardiograms, i. e., no Q waves or RS-T segment elevations, were also considered episodes of angina pectoris. We now know that these were, for the most part, attacks of myocardial infarction due to complete obstruction of a coronary artery (occlusion) or bouts of prolonged severe myocardial ischemia without complete closure (coronary insufficiency). This added to the terror of the term angina pectoris. Today, in the light of recent advances and newer concepts in the prophylaxis of the disease and in its therapy, such

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