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Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

Heart attack, Myocardial Infarction MI, Unstable Angina

We treat symptoms of acute coronary syndrome at our world-class hospitals

About

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is an umbrella term for a specific medical emergency: when the blood supplying the heart muscle is suddenly significantly reduced or blocked. Both heart attacks and unstable angina are acute coronary syndromes and require emergency care. Anyone experiencing ACS will need to be admitted to an acute cardiac care unit immediately.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of acute coronary syndrome icon plus

    The first symptom of acute coronary syndrome is typically chest pain or discomfort. You may also feel pressure or tightness in your chest, as well as pain in the left or both arms, jaw and upper abdomen. You may also feel nausea and sweating. All of these symptoms should be taken seriously and you should call 999.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    If you have an ACS, it's likely that emergency tests will be conducted in the accident and emergency unit of the nearest hospital. The two main tests for ACS are:

    • Electrocardiogram (ECG). Electrodes are attached to your skin so that electrical activity in your heart can be measured. ACS causes characteristic changes in the ECG which confirms the diagnosis.
    • Blood tests. These detect the presence of particular cardiac enzymes in the blood. After the death of heart muscle, the level of cardiac enzymes in the blood rises. This confirms a heart attack.. 
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Your consultant will try and restore blood flow to the heart through angioplasty and stenting. This involves passing a deflated balloon through a catheter (via the groin or the wrist), which is then inflated to open up the narrowed or blocked artery. A stent is then expanded there and remains within the blood vessel to preserve blood flow to the heart.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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