Coronary artery spasm

Variant angina; Angina - variant; Prinzmetal angina; Vasospastic angina; Chest pain - Prinzmetal

The coronary arteries supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Coronary artery spasm is a brief, sudden narrowing of one of these arteries.

Angina causes and symptoms

Angina, or angina pectoris, is temporary chest pain or a sensation of pressure that occurs when the heart’s need for oxygen is not satisfied by the amount of blood supplied to the heart. Blood flow can be limited when the arteries are narrowed by atherosclerosis, or because of coronary artery spasms. Symptoms of angina may also include discomfort in the shoulders, inside the arms, through the back and in the throat, jaw, or teeth. Angina due to atherosclerosis usually occurs during physical exertion or emotional distress, or at rest if the artery is narrowed by more than 70%.


Angina is a specific type of pain in the chest caused by inadequate blood flow through the blood vessels (coronary vessels) of the heart muscle (myocardium).

Coronary artery spasm

Coronary artery spasm is a temporary constriction of an artery in the heart. The spasm can slow or stop blood flow through the artery. The main symptom experienced is chest pain.

Artery cut section

The structure of blood vessel walls is important in the regulation of blood flow. The tunica media contains smooth muscle fibers which contract to either dilate or constrict the size of the vessel. These small changes in the vessel lumen can greatly influence blood pressure and blood flow. Therefore, the tunica media plays an important role in maintaining blood pressure and continuous blood circulation.

Prevention of heart disease

Heart disease may be prevented by recommended healthy diet, regular exercise and to stop smoking if you are a smoker. Follow your health care provider's recommendations for treatment and prevention of heart disease.



Exams and Tests


Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional