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Research

Vasospastic angina: A literature review of current evidence

Vasospastic angina (VSA) is a variant form of angina pectoris, in which angina occurs at rest, with transient electrocardiogram modifications and preserved exercise capacity. VSA can be involved in many clinical scenarios, such as stable angina, sudden cardiac death, acute coronary syndrome, arrhythmia or syncope.

Coronary vasospasm is a heterogeneous phenomenon that can occur in patients with or without coronary atherosclerosis, can be focal or diffuse, and can affect epicardial or microvasculature coronary arteries. This disease remains underdiagnosed, and provocative tests are rarely performed.

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Research

Coronary microvascular dysfunction in stable ischaemic heart disease

Diffuse and focal epicardial coronary disease and coronary microvascular abnormalities may exist side-by-side. Identifying the contributions of each of these three players in the coronary circulation is a difficult task.

Yet identifying coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) as an additional player in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) may provide explanations of why symptoms may persist frequently following and why global coronary flow reserve may be more prognostically important than fractional flow reserve measured in a single vessel before percutaneous coronary intervention.

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News

IHSA Featured on NORD

The International Heart Spasms Alliance (IHSA) has officially been listed on the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) website in their Find a Patient Organization section. NORD is known for its large online database of rare diseases.

IHSA is a global initiative lead by experts through experience, seeking further awareness for serious cardiac conditions. We are patients who are living with coronary vasospasms and microvascular angina, while also working in a collaborative equal partnership with clinicians worldwide. Although both heart conditions are classed as rare, it is believed they are under-recognized by the medical community specializing in NOCAD. More testing is needed to properly diagnose these conditions.

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Research

Interplay Between Myocardial Bridging and Coronary Spasm in Patients With...

Myocardial bridging (MB) may represent a cause of myocardial ischemia in patients with non‐obstructive coronary artery disease (NOCAD). Herein, we assessed the interplay between MB and coronary vasomotor disorders, also evaluating their prognostic relevance in patients with myocardial infarction and non‐obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA) or stable NOCAD.

We prospectively enrolled patients with NOCAD undergoing intracoronary acetylcholine provocative test. The incidence of major adverse cardiac events, defined as the composite of cardiac death, non‐fatal myocardial infarction, and rehospitalization for unstable angina, was assessed at follow‐up.

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Research

Small vessel disease

Small vessel disease is a condition in which the walls of the small arteries in the heart are damaged. The condition causes signs and symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain (angina).

Small vessel disease is sometimes called coronary microvascular disease or small vessel heart disease. It’s often diagnosed after a doctor finds little or no narrowing in the main arteries of your heart, despite your having symptoms that suggest heart disease.

Small vessel disease is more common in women and in people who have diabetes or high blood pressure. The condition is treatable but can be difficult to detect.

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Research

Treatment of coronary microvascular dysfunction

Contemporary data indicate that patients with signs and symptoms of ischaemia and non-obstructive coronary artery disease (INOCA) often have coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) with elevated risk for adverse outcomes. Coronary endothelial (constriction with acetylcholine) and/or microvascular (limited coronary flow reserve with adenosine) dysfunction are well-documented, and extensive non-obstructive atherosclerosis is often present.

Despite these data, patients with INOCA currently remain under-treated, in part, because existing management guidelines do not address this large, mostly female population due to the absence of evidence-based data.

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News

New Webinars Series on INOCA

A new webinars series regarding myocardial ischaemia without obstructive coronary disease is now available on the IHSA website. This series of webinars was brought to you by PCRonline and is dedicated to the management of patients with ischemia and non-obstructive coronary artery disease.

The series includes 7 webinars where healthcare professionals discuss together many complex issues to educate others on INOCA.

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Research

Testing for Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction

The small blood vessels in the heart, called the coronary microvasculature, carry most of the blood flow to the heart muscle, delivering oxygen. These blood vessels can become unhealthy when there is damage to their inner lining. There can also be plaque buildup in the larger coronary arteries that does not narrow them but can contribute to abnormal blood flow.

Over time, this leads to abnormal widening or narrowing of the small vessels in response to exercise or stress, which can cause problems with the blood supply to the heart, causing chest pain, shortness of breath, heart attack, and heart failure.

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Research

Reappraisal of Ischemic Heart Disease

In recent years, it has become apparent that coronary microvascular dysfunction plays a pivotal pathogenic role in angina pectoris. Functional and structural mechanisms can affect the physiological function of the coronary microvasculature and lead to myocardial ischemia in people without coronary atheromatous disease and also in individuals with obstructive coronary artery disease.

Abnormal dilatory responses of the coronary microvessels, coronary microvascular spasm, and extravascular compressive forces have been identified as pathogenic mechanisms in both chronic and acute forms of ischemic heart disease.

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Research

Myocardial ischemia: From disease to syndrome

Although current guidelines on the management of stable coronary artery disease acknowledge that multiple mechanisms may precipitate myocardial ischemia, recommended diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic algorithms are still focused on obstructive epicardial atherosclerotic lesions, and little progress has been made in identifying management strategies for non-atherosclerotic causes of myocardial ischemia.

The purpose of this consensus paper is three-fold: 1) to marshal scientific evidence that obstructive atherosclerosis can co-exist with other mechanisms of ischemic heart disease (IHD); 2) to explore how the awareness of multiple precipitating mechanisms could impact on pre-test probability, provocative test results and treatment strategies; and 3) to stimulate a more comprehensive approach to chronic myocardial ischemic syndromes, consistent with the new understanding of this condition.

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Around The World

Real Patient Stories

Dima’s story

March 3rd, 2021 was the day that changed everything. At 55, I had a busy counselling practice and a few other projects on the go. The pandemic was causing anxiety for many of my clients and in my private life. I had a lot of stress of my own: there were safety issues in the building where I lived, and I was looking for a new apartment. Despite this, I thought I was handling it well. I was fairly healthy, I walked daily, ate well, meditated and didn’t smoke or drink.

I started to experience heavy fatigue towards the end of 2020 but told myself it was normal considering all that was going on in the world.

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MaryAnn’s story

When I was 39, with zero risk factors for heart disease, I had all the classic symptoms associated with a heart attack. My doctors put me on three blood thinners to dissolve a clot in a minor artery seen in an angiogram. The next day, while the original clot had dissolved, I had a clot in a larger artery. Baffled, the cardiologists put in a stent. As they backed the scope out of the artery, it spasmed in another location.

At that time, I had a 4-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 12-year-old. My husband traveled extensively for work. I asked myself two questions: 1) How do I feel about dying at age 39? 2) If I don’t die, how do I live?

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Sandra’s story

My story began in January 2010, while sitting at a traffic light returning to the office. I was working as a home health physical therapist. I began having chest pain out of nowhere. I got to my office and my boss, an RN, asked me if I was OK. I told her about the chest pain. By then it was starting to progress down my left arm. She took my blood pressure, normally 98/68. It was 140/90. She called my husband and told him to meet me at the ER. I drove myself there. They ran the normal tests and diagnosed me with costochondritis. Pain meds made the symptoms go away. The pain came back six times in the next 6 months. I asked for a cardiologist referral, but was denied, due to my age (39), lack of family history, and being in shape.

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