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JAMA Patient Page
November 10, 2015

Acute Coronary Syndrome

JAMA. 2015;314(18):1990. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.12743

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) refers to a group of conditions characterized by poor blood flow to heart muscle.

ACS includes both unstable angina (increasing chest pain, or chest pain at rest) and myocardial infarction (heart attack). Most cases are caused by a blocked blood vessel in the heart. Because of the blockage, the heart muscle does not get enough blood or oxygen. A Rational Clinical Examination in the November 10, 2015, issue of JAMA provides more information on ACS. Patients who already have blocked blood vessels in the heart have especially high risk for ACS. Other risk factors include

Other conditions can cause these symptoms. But if you do have ACS, you will need emergency treatment. The time between start of symptoms and treatment should be as short as possible. If you have chest pain, especially if you have 1 or more of the above risk factors, call 911 (in the United States).