There are various ways to treat and manage angina.
If you have stable angina you may be given medicine to:
- prevent and treat angina attacks
- reduce your risk of a heart attack
Preventing and treating angina attacks
You may be given nitrates if you have stable angina. These work by relaxing the muscles in the blood vessels so that blood can pass through more easily.
You might be given nitrates as:
- slow release tablets
- a fast acting spray or tablet
Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) is usually given in a fast acting spray or tablets. You should keep this with you at all times. If you experience an episode of angina you can use the spray or tablet under your tongue. The pain should then ease within a few minutes.
You can repeat the dose after 5 minutes if the pain has not gone away. If the pain has still not gone 5 minutes after you take the second dose you should call an ambulance.
Beta blockers work mainly by slowing down the heart.
Calcium channel blockers
Calcium channel blockers relax the arteries, increasing blood supply to the heart muscle.
If you cannot have beta blockers or calcium channel blockers, you may be given another medicine. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
Reducing your risk of a heart attack or stroke
To reduce your risk of more serious cardiovascular problems, your doctor might give you:
- a low dose of aspirin to prevent blood clots
- statins to reduce your cholesterol (blood fats) level
- ACE inhibitors to reduce your blood pressure
Worsening angina symptoms over a short period of time can be a sign of a more acute coronary syndrome and you should seek urgent medical advice by phoning 999.
If you have unstable angina (where symptoms develop unpredictably), you'll need certain medicines. These will prevent blood clots and reduce your risk of having a heart attack.
You may be given:
Surgery may be recommended if you continue to have angina attacks despite medical treatment. It may also be recommended if tests show that you're at a high risk of having a heart attack.
Surgery for angina
There are 2 types of procedures that are used to treat angina. These are a:
- coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)
- percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
The best option for you depends on your circumstances. You should discuss the different options with your doctor. It's likely that you will need to continue taking some medicines after surgery.
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)
A CABG is where a section of a blood vessel is taken from another part of the body. This is then used to re-route the flow of blood past a blocked or narrow section of artery.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
PCI is where a narrowed section of artery is widened using a balloon and a tiny tube called a stent. It's also known as a coronary angioplasty.