I had severe chest pain. My doctor thinks that is prinzmetal's angina. Maybe it is important to tell you that I am 57 years old. What does that mean?
Hi! Prinzmetal's Angina is coronary artery spasm. This is an uncommon condition seen in both men and women. Episodes of typical angina are triggered when one of the major coronary arteries suddenly goes into spasm, temporarily shutting off blood flow. Episodes of this disease are accompanied by major changes on the ECG. The spasm almost always terminates spontaneously, it is uncommon (though possible) for a heart attack to occur. But during the period of spasm itself, the oxygen-starved heart muscle can trigger dangerous and potentially fatal heart arrhythmias. The spasm is usually relieved promptly by nitroglycerin. I hope that you are satisfied with information, if you want to know more you can ask me.
My recommendations: If you have something that isn't feeling right, DON'T WAIT, seek medical attention immediately. You do not have to wait for your appointment. Go to the ER and also mention Prinzmetal, otherwise, you may be in for a bunch of testing that will show absolutely NOTHING. Believe me, I had every test you can imagine and that was one of the reasons they kept putting me on all the wrong medicines, some that were even hurting this little known and rare disease. I would get a "pat on the head you're just a nervous woman" treatment. DO NOT accept this. Women need to put their foot down on this male dominant thinking about heart disease. Women have different symptoms and their bodies are different.
The test that found out that I definately had Prinzmetal was a cardiac cath. I was injected with Ergovine, a drug that brings on a spasm. This was after I had spent thousands of dollars on useless test, was told I had an 80% blockage and needed surgery to have a stent put in. That would have been another useless and dangerous surgery. The cardiologist was angry when I refused the surgery. After my 3rd trip to the hospital in 8 weeks the 2nd cardiac cath was done which again showed an 80% blockage in a completely different spot! It was the dose of ergovine and complete opening of the arteries with a high dose of Nitro that told them what the problem was. So advice here is, don't rush into surgery, it will do no good for Prinzmetal. If you do have a true blockage, yes, by all means get it fixed, just remember, a Prinzmetal attack 'looks' like a true blockage but with Nitro it opens back up.
Next I would recommend that you have some genetic testing done. I had mine done at the Prinzmetal Research Study in Cincinnati OH. It is still going on and if you can't get there you can just have your bloodwork taken at your family doctors and have it sent there. It was from this research study that I discovered that I am missing the gene to produce Nitric Oxide, the amino acid that keeps your arteries from having spasms. I have the mutated gene and it was found out that both my parents also had a mutated gene. I am now having to write and tell my other siblings about this and that they need to be tested. Hard to find the right words.
There is no cure for Prinzmetal but there are medicines that can help. Your doctor will decide which ones are the best for you and there is also an amino acid called L-arginine that can give your body the needed Nitric Oxide to help show down the spasms. There are foods that are high in amino acid, stopping smoking and other life-style changes can help.
Many people have heart attacks before it is discovered that they have true Prinzmetal, that is why I ask you not to delay and not to let the doctors have the upper hand with your testing, it is YOUR life and YOUR health, take it into your own hands and take charge. You pay the doctors, they work for YOU, you have a RIGHT to an opinion and to say no to unnecessary test or to ask for a test that might find your disease quicker.
Patients often forget that they have a right to say yes or no, we are so used to letting doctors make all the decisions for our life and health. Doing that almost killed me as I suffered from this disease and was so out of it on depression medicines, pain pills, medicine for GERD and hyped up on hormones for the "typical women's syndromes".
Yes, I fired my doctors and my cardiologist, they were no longer on my payroll. I took my health into my own hands, started doing intensive research on my disease and got involved in the Cincinnati Research. I stopped all those pills that were actually hurting this disease and could have brought on a heart attack, blood clot or stroke.
Please, take your health into your own hands, do not let the doctors run your life. Research until you think you will go blind from reading, rest your eyes then research some more.
I noticed my symptoms more when I tried to relax and yes, the cold would set a spasm off. I have times that are worse than others. I go nowhere without my Nitro spray and especially keep it with me at night.
Good luck with your testing and your future. If it turns out that you do have Prinzmetal and it is from a mutated gene, be prepared, you will now live with this the rest of your life. Find people to talk with so the worry of it doesn't get you down. Stress is not a friend with this disease.
I wish you well,
**edited by moderator**
Now here I am today, 29 years old and about a month ago, I was laying in bed and started having chest pains, then my left arm proceeded to go numb and then pain into my back and neck, just like my first heart attack. I got out of bed and took an aspirin. It took about two hours before I felt any better or received any comfort. I refused to go to the ER because of recently losing my insurance due to my husband being laid off. I waited two days and spoke to a friend of mine which is an ER doctor and he told me to go. But they were unable to find anything wrong except the ER doctor told me that I might have Prinzmetal Angina and needed to be tested. I was put on atenonol and aspirin. I still continue to feel weird sensations in my chest like a burning feeling (not heart burn) and pain. They sent me for a nuclear stress test and echocardiogram and the doctor said the stress test part looked really good. My regular physician mentioned that he thought I might have Prinzmetal Angina and said this recent attack was most likely a heart attack but I did not go in time. The last heart attack was blamed on birth control and smoking but the papers say "presumably secondary to transient spasm or platelet aggregation."
I feel like a hypochondriac because they can not figure out anything. I also had a Complete Blood Work and everything came back normal even my cholesterol. Does anyone have any suggestions to what might be wrong? Does this sound like Prinzmetal Angina? I am about to give up on the doctors and go on living my life. I am just scared cause I have two children and wouldn't want anything to happen to me and these feelings I get in my chest are really weird.
I too was not diagnosed right away. I was passed to an intern who was on the road to telling me it was probably anxiety. ( I have been caregiver to my husband who had a horrible accident five years ago, I don't believe I am an anxious person.) as the cardiologist was telling me this he asked when was the last time you had chest pain....I told him "well I am having a doozy right now" he immediately put me on a monitor and said "well we have proof now you have PA" Now all the cardiologist find me interesting and I will not be passed off to an intern.
I have been looking around the internet to see if there is a cure.....guess not. Well I found out the other day my maternal grandmother had angina and she lived until 92 - so we must take care of ourselves...good luck and take care.
I second the fact that Prinzmetal's Angina can be EXTREMELY difficult to diagnose.
After experiencing chest pain and being rushed to the ER multiple times, a doctor finally proposed Prinzmetal's Angina. I spent a week in the Swedish Coronary Care Unit in Seattle, WA undergoing stress tests, EKGs, blood checks, etc.
They started me on Imdur, Nitrostat (as needed), and later Calcium Channel Blockers + Cardura.
It's been a little over a year since I was discharged from the hospital and I'm finally getting my symptoms under control. It's a challening process that's different for eveyone and it takes tremendous patience and persistence.
I recently started an online community dedicated to people, like you and me, that suffer from Prinzmetal's Angina. We discuss coping, medications, treatment, research, prevention, and much more!
I'd ask that each of you share your experiences so that others in the future may benefit.
I'm happy to talk to anyone on the forum about my experiences and shed some light on treatment options. Let me know.
I am a 48 year old firefighter that recently had a blockage of the LAD (widowmaker). They cathed me three times and placed two stents in the artery. After all of this I am now having the typical episodes of this type almost every day. My cardiologist has never heard of this so I am doing the research for him.
I saw reference to a study in Cincinatti that was looking for abrormalities in the genes. Does anybody have info on this?
I am open to any and all advice. This has been extremely life changing for myself and my family.
Hi Dee, is there a way that i can make contact with you, maybe email?
Hi Dee, I would like to email you and ask a few extra questions regarding PA. We are on the same path as you were, and are really exhausted! My husband has had 5 stents and is on various medication and had too many procedures done trying to pin point his chest pain. After everything he is still getting these severe attacks, but he does not fit the criteria for PA? He is a man, 60 years of age, stopped smoking three years ago, do not drink or use drugs .......
He gets the attacks almost every night - early morning between 1 and 3, and sometimes during the day. usually when he is resting. ECG under stress normal. We need more info on his symptoms if any one can help!!!
Another rare cause could be Broken Heart Syndrome a non cardiovascular heart attack that would show on a angiogram. It is caused by stress and trauma.