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Why , stable angina is stable ?

Posted Jan 26 2009 5:04pm

Angina is classified in many ways .The most useful; clinical classification is stable and unstable angina .

While  ,the former generally is considered   innocuous  the  later conveys a sinister  signal to the patient and the physician. 

Why stable angina is  stable ?

In stable angina

  • The patient knows how the pain is going to behave by his past experience.
  • Very predictable .The patient knows at what distance it’s going to come
  • He also knows when  it will disappear.(For some , with rest for others with nitrates)
  • He also knows where the chest pain will radiate.
  • If some thing is unusual it is unlikely to be  stable angina , also any  first episode of angina is considered unstable as one wouldn’t  know how the angina is going to behave !

How is that stable angina has such a learned behaviour ?

The main reason for  the beningn nature of  stable angina is the coronary artery has “stable plaques”

Stable plaques produce stable angina  ,Unstable plaques cause unstable angina

Stable plaque s restrict blood flow only at times of  increased demand( ie supply side ischemia.) There is no thrombus in these plaques.As soon as the exertion ends the angina is relieved.So in chronic stable angina, the patient is stable, the angina is stable , the palque is stable , the coronary blood flow is stable.

Unstable palques have erosion and thrombus , and it interferes with blood flow even at rest .So in  unstable angina, not only the angina is unstable , the plaque is unstable  ,coronary blood flow is unstable. So it is obvious unstable angina , may not be relieved by bed rest.It needs intensive treatment.

Is there a overlap between stable and unstable angina?

Yes. In fact it is more common than we realise.

Read this post http://drsvenkatesan.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=2177

Related topics

How is a stable palque converts into a unstable plaque ?

How do you identify these vulnerable plaques ?

      
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