Acute coronary syndromes

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Resident
Survival
Guide

Acute Coronary Syndrome Chapters

Heart Attack Patient Information

Unstable Angina Patient Information

Overview

Classification

Unstable Angina
Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction
ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction

Causes

Differential Diagnosis

Treatment

AHA/ACC Guidelines for Acute Coronary Syndrome

Guideline for Risk Stratification in ACS
Guideline for Pre-Hospital Evaluation and Care
Guidelines for Initial Management of ACS
Guidelines for Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Complicating ACS

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Mitra Chitsazan, M.D.[2] Yamuna Kondapally, M.B.B.S[3]; Tarek Nafee, M.D. [4]; Sabawoon Mirwais, M.B.B.S, M.D.[5]

Synonyms and Keywords: acute coronary syndrome, acute coronary syndromes, ST-elevation myocardial infarction, Non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome, unstable angina, STEMI, UA, , NSTEMI, NSTE-ACS


Overview

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) refers to a spectrum of conditions resulting from acute myocardial ischemia and/or infarction that is most often due to an abrupt reduction in coronary blood flow. The most common symptom prompting diagnosis of ACS is chest pain, often radiating to the left arm or angle of the jaw, pressure-like in character, and associated with nausea and sweating. ACS should be distinguished from stable angina, which is chest pain that develops during exertion and resolves at rest. Traditionally, ACS has been classified into non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), ST-elevation MI (STEMI), and unstable angina. Unstable angina is differentiated from NSTEMI by the absence of elevated cardiac biomarkers. The basic pathology in both conditions involves a non-occlusive thrombus formation from a previously disrupted atherosclerotic plaque causing an inadequate blood supply to the heart muscle. Though ACS is usually associated with coronary thrombosis, it can also be associated with other causes such as cocaine use. Cardiac chest pain can also be precipitated by anemia, bradycardias or tachycardias.

Classification


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Acute coronary syndromes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome (NTE-ACS)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ST elevation myocardial infarction
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unstable angina
 
 
Non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Causes


For a complete list of causes for UA click here, for NSTEMI click here, and for STEMI click here.

Differentiating Acute coronary syndromes from other Diseases

Organ System Diseases Presentation Diagnostic Tests Past Medical History Other Findings
Chest Pain GI Symptoms Pulmonary Neck
On Palpation On inspiration Radiating to Extremeties Radiating to Back With Movement Nausea or Vomitting Epigastric Pain Odynophagia or Dysphagia Shortness of Breath Jugular

Distention

Cardiac Biomarkers CBC Findings ESR D-Dimer EKG

Findings

CXR Findings DM Hyperlipidemia Obesity Trauma Inxn* Htn
Cardiovascular Acute Coronary Syndrome + + + + + + + + + + + Palpitations

Sweating

Aortic Dissection + + + - + + - + •Pain maximal upon onset •Pain difficult to treat with opiates

Weak pulse in one arm compared to other

Syncope

•Symptoms similar to stroke

Smoking

Brugada Syndrome No chest pain + Syncope

Cardiac arrest

ST-segment elevation

•F/H of sudden cardiac death

Takotsubo carditis Sudden onset of chest pain mimicking myocardial infarction + + + + + - •Extreme emotional or physical stresssyncope

•Women>men

ST segment elevation

Left ventricular apical ballooning on echo

Normal coronary arteries

Pericarditis + + + •Relieving factor: Sitting up and leaning forward

•Aggravating factor: Lying down and breathing deep

+ + + + + + + •Other causes:Malignancy, autoimmune disorders, chest trauma

Pericardial friction rub

Organ System Diseases Presentation Diagnostic Tests Past Medical History Other Findings
Chest Pain GI Symptoms Pulmonary Neck
On Palpation On inspiration Radiating to Extremeties Radiating to Back With Movement Nausea or Vomitting Epigastric Pain Odynophagia or Dysphagia Shortness of Breath Jugular

Distention

Cardiac Biomarkers CBC Findings ESR D-Dimer EKG

Findings

CXR Findings DM Hyperlipidemia Obesity Trauma Inxn* Htn
Pulmonary Pleuritis
(pleurisy)
+ + + + Aggravating factor: Deep breathing + + + + + + •Other causesPulmonary embolism, malignancy, autoimmune diseases
Pulmonary Embolism + •Aggravating factors: Deep breathing, coughing, eating, bending and stooping + + + •Other causes: Immobility, pregnancy, oral contraceptive pills
Pneumonia + + + + + + •Complications: Sepsis, ARDS, Lung abscess
Gastrointestinal GERD + + + •Other symptoms: Hoarseness, Dry cough at night, Sensation of lump in throat etc
Esophageal Spasms + + + + + + + • Risk factors: Anxiety or depression and drinking wine, very hot or cold foods
Esophagitis + + + + + + + • Causes: Hiatal hernia, infection, medications, radiation therapy
Gastritis + + + + + + + • Causes: H.pylori infection, bile reflux, alcohol use, alcohol use
Organ System Diseases Presentation Diagnostic Tests Past Medical History Other Findings
Chest Pain GI Symptoms Pulmonary Neck
On Palpation On inspiration Radiating to Extremeties Radiating to Back With Movement Nausea or Vomitting Epigastric Pain Odynophagia or Dysphagia Shortness of Breath Jugular

Distention

Cardiac Biomarkers CBC Findings ESR D-Dimer EKG

Findings

CXR Findings DM Hyperlipidemia Obesity Trauma Inxn* Htn
Musculoskeletal Muscle sprain/Spasm + + + + • Causes: Over use, dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities
Costochondritis + + + + + + + + + + + • Risk factors: Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter's syndrome
Rib fracture/Trauma + + + + + + + + + + • Complications: Pneumothorax, hemothorax, surgical emphysema
Psychiatry Anxiety (Panic Attack) Chest tightness + + • Other symptoms: Palpitations, trembling, sweating, choking, light headed, hot or cold flashes.


The following table summarizes the significant history, and diagnostic test findings that will help differentiate the acute coronary syndromes from one another, as well as from other coronary artery diseases:

Acute Coronary Syndromes History and Symptoms Pathology Diagnostic tests Treatment Complications Prognosis
Chest pain Duration of Chest pain Coronary Artery Plaque Cardiac Biomarkers
(e.g.CK-MB, Troponins)
EKG Findings Medical Therapy Reperfusion
(e.g. PCI, CABG, or Medical)
At Rest Exertion
Unstable Angina + + <30 minutes Partial occlusion Erosion

or

Rupture

(39%)

Normal •Normal EKG findings (some cases)


•Flipped or inverted T waves


•ST segment depression


•Non-specific ST-T changes

+ Arrhythmias

Congestive heart failure

Hypotension

New mitral regurgitation

MI

•Sudden death

•1 year mortality rate is 1.7%
NSTEMI + + >30 minutes Partial or complete occlusion Rupture

(56%)

or

Erosion

Elevated •No EKG findings (some cases)


•Flipped or inverted T waves


•ST segment depression


•Non-specific ST-T changes

New left bundle branch block

+ + Arrhythmias

Congestive heart failure

Hypotension

New mitral regurgitation

Ventricular aneurysms

•Sudden death

•1 year mortality rate is 24.4%

• 30-day mortality rate is about 2%

STEMI + + >30 minutes Complete occlusion Rupture

(50%-75%) or

Erosion

Elevated •ST elevation in at least 2

contiguous leads in V2-V3


•ST depression in at least

two precordial leads V1-V4


•ST depression in several

leads plus ST elevation in

lead aVR (suggestive of occlusion of the left main or proximal LAD artery)


+ + Reinfarction

Arrhythmias

Left ventricular aneurysm

Pseudoaneurysm

rupture of papillary muscle,

interventricular septum and LV free wall

•Sudden death

•30 day mortality rate is

1.1% in <45 yrs and 20.4% in >75 yrs patients

Other Coronary Artery Diseases
Chronic stable angina - + ≤ 5 minutes Severely narrowed

coronary vessels

Stable plaque Normal •Normal EKG in 50% of cases

•Down sloping, up sloping or

horizontal ST-segment depression

•T wave inversion

+ Heart failure •Estimated annual mortality rate is 0.9%-1.4%

•Annual incidence of non-fatal MI between 0.5%-2.6%

•1-year mortality rate is 1.3%

Prinzmetal's angina •Occur at rest

(Mid night to early morning)

•Not associated with exertion

5-30 minutes Coronary artery vasospasm - Normal •Transient ST segment elevation + Arrhythmias

MI

•5 year survival is excellent (90%-95%)


Differential Diagnoses of Acute Coronary Syndromes in the Setting of Chest Pain


Cardiac Pulmonary Vascular Gastrointestinal Orthopedic Other
Myopericarditis

Cardiomyopathiesa

Pulmonary embolism Aortic dissection Esophagitis

Esophageal spasm

Musculoskeletal disorders Anxiety disorders
Tachyarrhythmias (Tension)-Pneumothorax Symptomatic aortic aneurysm Peptic ulcer, gastritis Chest trauma Herpes zoster
Acute heart failure Bronchitis, pneumonia Stroke Pancreatitis Muscle injury/inflammation Anemia
Hypertensive emergencies Pleuritis Cholecystitis Costochondritis
Aortic valve stenosis Cervical spine pathologies
Tako-Tsubo cardiomyopathy
Coronary spasm
Cardiac trauma
Bold = Common and/or important differential diagnoses

aDilated, hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathies may cause angina or chest discomfort

Treatment

References

  1. Braunwald E, Morrow DA (2013). "Unstable angina: is it time for a requiem?". Circulation. 127 (24): 2452–7. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.001258. PMID 23775194.
  2. Collet JP, Thiele H, Barbato E, Barthélémy O, Bauersachs J, Bhatt DL; et al. (2020). "2020 ESC Guidelines for the management of acute coronary syndromes in patients presenting without persistent ST-segment elevation". Eur Heart J. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa575. PMID 32860058 Check |pmid= value (help).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Amsterdam EA, Wenger NK, Brindis RG, Casey DE, Ganiats TG, Holmes DR; et al. (2014). "2014 AHA/ACC guideline for the management of patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines". Circulation. 130 (25): e344–426. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000134. PMID 25249585.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chang AM, Fischman DL, Hollander JE (2018). "Evaluation of Chest Pain and Acute Coronary Syndromes". Cardiol Clin. 36 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.ccl.2017.08.001. PMID 29173670.
  5. Raphael CE, Heit JA, Reeder GS, Bois MC, Maleszewski JJ, Tilbury RT; et al. (2018). "Coronary Embolus: An Underappreciated Cause of Acute Coronary Syndromes". JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 11 (2): 172–180. doi:10.1016/j.jcin.2017.08.057. PMID 29348012.
  6. Bastante T, Rivero F, Cuesta J, Benedicto A, Restrepo J, Alfonso F (2014). "Nonatherosclerotic causes of acute coronary syndrome: recognition and management". Curr Cardiol Rep. 16 (11): 543. doi:10.1007/s11886-014-0543-y. PMID 25308305.
  7. Hollander JE, Than M, Mueller C (2016) State-of-the-Art Evaluation of Emergency Department Patients Presenting With Potential Acute Coronary Syndromes. Circulation 134 (7):547-64. DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.021886 PMID: 27528647