Definition and Incidence

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) is an umbrella term used to describe a spectrum of clinical presentations, including unstable angina, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), and ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)
  • Incidence of ACS is estimated to be 1.5-2 million cases annually in the United States.
  • Risk factors for ACS include: hypertension, diabetes, smoking, dyslipidemia, obesity, family history of coronary artery disease, and sedentary lifestyle.
Image: Bar graph depicting relative risk of ACS for the listed risk factors.

Pathophysiology of Acute Coronary Syndrome

Clinical Presentation

  • Chest pain (angina) is the most common symptom of ACS
  • Other symptoms may include: sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, fatigue, and lightheadedness
  • History and physical exam are necessary to evaluate ACS
  • Risk factors for ACS include:
    • Smoking
    • Hypertension
    • Dyslipidemia
    • Diabetes
    • Family history