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Signs and Symptoms

Chest Pain Caused by Coronary Artery Disease

Angina is actually a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD).

Angina Characteristics

Characteristics of angina include chest pain that can be described as:

  • Pressure
  • Squeezing
  • Fullness
  • Pain at the center of your chest

Some people say it feels like their chest is caught in a vise or that a heavy weight has been placed on top of their chest. The pressure can extend into the arm, especially the left arm, as well as the neck and jaw.

Typical Angina Pain Areas

Signs of Stable Angina

  • Happens when your heart is working hard, for example, when you are climbing stairs or exercising
  • Is predictable
  • Lasts about five minutes or less
  • May feel like indigestion
  • May spread to your arms or back
  • Can be triggered by stress

Signs of Unstable Angina

  • No typical pattern
  • Unexpected
  • Can occur at rest
  • Medication may not relieve pain
  • May signal a heart attack coming

Signs of Variant Angina

  • Happens at rest
  • Severe pain
  • May be relieved by medication

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215