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What is stable angina pectoris?

Harris H. McIlwain, MD
Rheumatology

Stable angina pectoris means that the discomfort and limitation have not increased recently, such as over the previous 1 to 2 months. There may be chest pain, tightness or other discomfort on exertion or from other causes, but the severity and frequency of the episodes is the same. The chest discomfort usually lasts less than five minutes and is relieved by resting or by medication.

In persons with stable angina, researchers usually find a narrowing of at least one of the coronary arteries. The narrowed blood vessel allows enough blood (and oxygen) supply to the heart muscle at rest.  With more activities, the heart increases its work and needs more blood, but the narrowed vessel limits the supply of blood, and angina develops. With rest, the need for more blood supply lessens, and the chest pain goes away.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.