What is Refractory Angina?

Approximately one million people in United States have chronic symptomatic coronary artery disease, mostly referred to as refractory angina. Refractory angina is a chronic condition that is characterized by the presence of angina resulting from insufficiency of coronary in the presence of coronary artery disease. The condition cannot be controlled by angioplasty, medical therapy, as well as coronary bypass surgery. The presence of reversible myocardial ischemia should be established clinically to be the main cause of the symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Refractory Angina?

The main warning flags that you may be suffering from coronary artery disease is the presence of angina pectoris. As the plaque develops in your arteries, the blood flow slows down leaving the heart muscles deprived of adequate amounts of the needed oxygen-rich blood. The effect of lack of oxygen and slow blood flow is angina or chest pain.
Symptoms of angina include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness

In addition to chest pains, people suffering from angina may experience arms, neck, shoulder, back and jaw pain.

Causes of Refractory Angina

Refractory Angina is often triggered by activities that make the heart work harder to pump the blood such as exercise or unusual levels of stress. In case angina is stable, the symptoms may be short-lived and may disappear after treatment or rest. Since angina is caused by activities that force the heart to work harder, the episodes are often predictable which enables the person affected to manage the disease better and minimize the impact on the quality of life they have to live.
Other causes of refractory angina are smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high levels of cholesterol.

How is Refractory Angina Diagnosed?

The doctor at the Nashville pain center will start by carrying out a physical examination which is performed in order to exclude other disorders such as lung diseases, diseases of the thoracic spinal column, diseases of the internal organs in the abdomen, shingles, and abnormalities of the aorta as well as panic attacks. But, the cardiologist will first carry out a thorough examination.

To get the bottom of how angina affects patients, the diagnosis must be widened to involve the cause of angina and the effects on the patient and family. The patient-centered approach is called a bio psychosocial diagnosis and is more than just sending the patient for tests. This approach is greatly preferred by patients since it opens the way to a wider range of low-risk treatments.

How is Refractory Angina Treated?

Depending on the main cause of your pain, your doctor will decide whether or not to embark on physical treatment. The doctor at the pain management clinics in Nashville TN may decide to do additional examinations that can be carried out and apart from physical treatment, other methods of treatment can be suggested.
The major treatment options for refractory angina is lifestyle change such as losing weight, avoid smoking and avoid activities such as exercises or stressful situations that may overburden the heart and cause it to pump harder. Also, angina may be treated with anti-angina medications such as calcium channel blockers, beta blockers to reduce the demand for oxygen or nitrates and improve the supply of blood.

Similarly, refractory angina may be treated by revascularization procedures such as CABG (coronary artery bypass graft surgery) or CABG (coronary artery bypass graft surgery), that is for severe cases.