The doctors at The Texas Heart Institute Center for Cardiovascular Care are experts in their fields. Our specialties are broad and comprehensive, covering every aspect of heart health from prevention to surgical treatment.

Bringing the future of cardiovascular health to life.


What is angina?

Commonly mistaken for a heart attack, angina pectoris is a Latin phrase that means “strangling in the chest.” Patients describe angina as a squeezing, suffocating, or burning feeling in their chest. Fortunately, the heart muscle is not damaged forever like in a heart attack, and the pain usually subsides with rest. However, angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease.

How do I know I’m having angina, and how do I get it diagnosed?

The pain traditionally starts in the center of the chest and then radiates to your left arm, neck, back, throat, or jaw. You may have numbness or a loss of feeling in your arms, shoulders, or wrists. Luckily, the episodes are brief, but if the pain lasts longer than a few minutes, you should seek immediate medical attention. Once you seek help, doctors can easily diagnose the cause of your angina by discussing your symptoms with you and running a few tests such as x-rays, exercise electrocardiography (ECG or EKG), a nuclear stress test, coronary angiography, and blood tests to check the levels of certain proteins in your blood.


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