Angina refers to the reduced supply of blood and oxygen to the muscles of the heart primarily due to some form of coronary artery disorder. The most common cause for this condition is atherosclerosis, which results in narrowing down of the coronary arteries. However, a relatively rare cause of angina is vasospastic angina which is caused due to spasm of the coronary arteries.
Vasospastic angina also referred to as Prinzmetal’s angina or Varient angina is a syndrome which is characterized by chest pain which occurs in a cyclic pattern and is attributed to vasospasm of the coronary arteries.The contraction of the smooth muscle cells located in the coronary arteries results in narrowing of the lumen of the artery, which in turn reduces the supply of blood and oxygen to cardiac muscles. This condition is more frequently observed in younger women.
Causes Of Vasospastic Angina
Vasospastic Angina is caused due to intense spasm of the coronary arteries. Though the condition is not completely understood, there have been several hypotheses which have been used to explain the condition. It is proposed that it increases the contractibility of the smooth muscle cells located in the coronary arteries.This increased contractibility is attributed to the reduction in the levels of nitric oxide which is caused to due to a defect in the nitric oxide synthetase enzyme. This is primarily caused due to a dysfunctional myocardial endothelium.
There are several factors that can result in coronary artery vasospasm but the most common trigger factors include cocaine or use of tobacco, hyperventilation, use of drugs or agents like histamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, etc.
Vasospastic Angina Symptoms
The most unique feature of vasospastic angina is that symptoms of chest pain, breathlessness and tightness around the chest are observed at rest, unlike stable angina, where the symptoms are manifested on exertion. Hence frequent episodes of angina are observed at night.
The diagnosis of the condition can be made only after ruling out other forms of cardiac disease. Vasospastic Angina is often associated with negative treadmill stress test, since this condition is exercise tolerant. Further, the unique manifestation of chest pain during rest is also indicative of Prinzmetal’s Angina.
Electrocardiogram findings are associated with a ST segment elevation, which is often the reverse of what is observed in cases of conventional stable angina.
Various studies have shown that there is a relationship of vasospastic angina and other systemic abnormalities associated with increase vasomotor tone including migraine and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Treatment For Prinzmetal’s Angina
Conventional therapy uses calcium channel blockers and nitrates for the management of vasospastic angina. Here are some homeopathic drugs that can be beneficial in the management of the condition,
- Mag Phos: A powerful homeopathic medicine which is considered beneficial in the management of smooth muscle cell contractions.
- Aurum Metallicum: A drug specifically dedicated to improving vascularization of the heart and improving blood circulation to the cardiac muscles, Aurum Met is considered beneficial in the management of vasospastic Angina.
- Argentum Nitricum: Another essential homeopathic medicine which has an effect on the heart and the parasympathetic nervous system. This drug helps reduce the frequency of vasospasms caused due to nervous stimulations and also improves cardiac functions.
Vasospastic Angina is often observed in conjunction with other coronary artery diseases and hence dietary management, regular exercise, etc. play a crucial role in the management of the condition.