Heart & Vascular
Chest Pain Chest Pain

Chest Pain

Angina is chest pain or discomfort occurring in an area of your heart muscle as a result of not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Pressure or squeezing may be felt in the chest and pain may also occur in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back and may feel like indigestion. Angina is not a disease – it is a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually Coronary Artery Disease.

St. Luke’s was the first health network in the region to be recognized as an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology. This accreditation means that St. Luke’s has dedicated physicians in interventional cardiology and emergency medicine, trained in the rapid response and treatment of heart attack. This treatment focused method of health care has been proven to reduce damage to the heart muscle.

Living With

The Top Five Questions to Ask Your Cardiologist

Perhaps you’re going to the cardiologist because your physician recommended it. Or maybe you have a family history of heart disease, and you want to stay on top of it. Or you have high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, or both... Read more.

When Is Chest Pain an Emergency?

What to do when it occurs. You think having chest pain is pretty clear-cut, right? In your mind’s picture, someone is keeling over, writhing on the floor, gasping for breath. You would definitely pick up the phone and dial 911 in that instance… Read more.


  • Continue the modification of risk factors – eliminate tobacco use, exercise regularly, eat a heart-healthy diet, reduce stress and take any/all medications prescribed by your doctor.
  • Regular follow-up with your doctor

If you have had surgery, attend a cardiac rehabilitation program.


Treatment Options

Specific treatment will be determined by your doctor based upon your diagnosis, age, overall health, medical history, extent of disease, tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies.

Treatments may include:

  • Modification of risk factors including smoking, elevated cholesterol levels, lack of exercise, poor dietary habits, obesity and stress.
  • Medication Management to improve angina. This includes:
    • Aspirin
    • Nitrates
    • Beta blockers
    • Statins
    • Calcium channel blockers
    • Angiostensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Coronary angioplasty – a balloon is used to create a larger opening in the vessel to increase blood flow into the heart
  • Coronary artery bypass – during this surgery a bypass is created by grating a piece of a vein above and below the blocked area of a coronary artery, enabling blood flow around the obstruction


Exams and Tests

Along with a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures to determine if angina is related to a serious heart condition may include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Stress test
  • Holter Monitoring