Painful sudden tightening in the chest, often while at rest or sleeping
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Coronary artery spasm occurs when the muscles within an artery that supplies blood to the heart suddenly tighten. This restricts blood flow to your heart muscles and cause severe chest pain. These spasms typically occur while you are at rest or sleeping, but also can happen while you are active. Many people experience fainting with angina.
What are the risk factors for coronary artery spasm?
Coronary artery spasms can occur even if you do not have any additional heart conditions. However, most people who experience coronary artery spasms also have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery spasms also may be triggered by:
- Alcohol consumption
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Chronic allergic conditions
- Low magnesium
- Menstrual cycles
- Spasms in other arteries
- Thyrotoxicosis, an excessive amount of circulating thyroid hormone
To diagnose coronary artery spasm, your doctor may use an electrocardiogram (ECG) or other diagnostic tests to monitor your heart’s electrical impulses.
Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms and chemically induced stress tests.