What is Prinzmetal’s angina?
Prinzmetal’s angina is cardiac pain caused by an inadequate blood supply (ischemia) as a result spasm of the coronary artery. It is just one type of angina pectoris – heart pain caused by the inadequate flow of blood to the heart muscle. The coronary arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart and a constant supply is necessary on an ongoing basis to the heart wall that is always contracting and relaxing. When the muscles in the arterial walls go into spasm (vasospasm), the artery lumen is narrowed and less blood flows through it. The condition was named after Dr. Myron Prinzmetal and is also known as variant angina or angina inversa.
How common is Prinzmetal’s angina?
Angina pectoris affects almost 10 million Americans and there is about half a million new cases reported annually. It is the most significant cardiac symptoms indicating a potentially fatal coronary event. The most common type is typical angina which is narrowing of the coronary arteries due to the build up fatty plaques in the arterial walls (atherosclerosis). Prinzmetal’s angina is very uncommon comparatively, account for only 2 out every 100 cases of angina pectoris.