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What is unstable angina?

Angina refers to chest pain produced when blood flow to the heart is low. When blood flow is low, the heart gets an inadequate amount of oxygen. This causes feelings ranging from pressure to pain. Angina that occurs on a regular basis, usually related to exercise or physical activity, is called stable angina. Unstable angina refers to angina that does not occur as part of a regular pattern of chest pain. Unstable angina can be new pain in people who have not experienced angina before, or pain that breaks the pattern of stable angina.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Unlike stable angina, the squeezing chest pain known as unstable angina happens at rest, lasts for more than 30 minutes, and can be life-threatening. In this video, Dr. Oz talks about why angina occurs and the important differences between the two types.


Unstable angina is chest pain due to coronary artery disease, which causes unusual chest pain that does not respond to normal angina pain treatments, happens at rest, or feels different than your normal angina pain. Anginal chest pain could be very serious and should be examined by a physician.

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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.