Unstable angina is a change in your usual pattern of stable angina. Your symptoms do not happen at a predictable time. For example, you may feel angina at rest or with light activity. Your symptoms may be more frequent, severe, or longer-lasting than your usual pattern of stable angina. Your symptoms may not go away when you try your typical ways of relieving them, such as rest or nitroglycerin.
Unstable angina is an emergency. It may mean that you are having a heart attack.
Unstable angina happens when blood flow to the heart is suddenly slowed by narrowed vessels or small blood clots that form in the coronary arteries. A clot may partially block blood flow in your coronary artery. Or it may block blood flow completely for a short time.
Current as of: January 10, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Stephen Fort MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology & Caroline S. Rhoads MD - Internal Medicine