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Angina (Chest Pain)

What is angina?

Angina (or angina pectoris) is chest pain that is caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle. Your doctor calls this insufficient blood flow "myocardial ischemia."

There are different types of angina:

  • Stable angina
  • Unstable angina
  • Variant angina

Get medical help right away if you have new, unexplained chest pain or pressure. If you have had angina before, call your health care provider.

What are the symptoms?

People with angina pectoris may experience pain in different ways:

  • Chest pain
  • Feeling of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the chest
  • Increased pain when emotional or anxious
  • Increased pain during exertion
  • Pain in the back, neck, jaw or shoulders
  • Pain in the arms, especially the left arm
  • Pain in the upper abdomen

How is it treated?

Before your chest pain can be treated, your doctors will need to determine its cause. Several tests may be done, including an electrocardiogram (EKG)stress test, or angiogram.

In many cases, chest pain is caused by coronary artery disease. In coronary artery disease, plaque builds up on the walls of your arteries, restricting blood flow to your heart.

When this happens, doctors at Lee Health provide several possible treatments.

  • Medication. Patients with early coronary artery disease may obtain good results from treatment with various medications.
  • Balloon angioplasty. A thin catheter is inserted through a blood vessel in your leg. It is then threaded up to the blockage. A tiny balloon is then inflated, pushing fatty deposits to the sides of the blood vessel and restoring blood flow to your heart. Lee Health also offers laser angioplasty, which breaks down plaque with a laser.
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery. In a coronary artery bypass graft, a blood vessel from another part of your body is used to go around, or bypass, a blocked artery that supplies your heart. A stent—a miniature wire-mesh tube—can be used to open up a blocked artery. Stents are placed during a minimally-invasive procedure.

What is Lee Health's approach?

Lee Health offers all of the most advanced treatments available for angina pectoris and coronary artery disease.

HealthPark Medical Center, Gulf Coast Medical Center, Cape Coral Hosptital, and Lee Memorial Hospital have been recognized as fully accredited Chest Pain Centers, with "door-to-balloon time," (the time from when a patient with a heart attack arrives in the emergency department until that person's coronary artery is re-opened with a balloon catheter), consistently beating the national standard. This level of care greatly increases a patients chance of survival from a heart attack.

Who should I contact?

For questions related to cardiovascular care or services, email us at

Having chest pain?

In a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number. If you are unable to do so, ask someone to call for you or to take you to the nearest emergency care facility. You may go to any hospital in your area for emergency care.