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Angina Vs. Heart Attack



Severity of Pain

  • Dull pain may be burning or pressure like
  • Often mild to moderate

- Similar to angina, may be much more severe

Location of Pain

One or more of:

  • Chest, upper back, throat, arms, jaw and may radiate

One or more of:

Chest, upper back, throat, arms, jaw and may radiate

Timing of incident

- Usually related to exercise, stress, or after a meal

- Can occur anytime

How Long Does the Pain Last?

- Less than 20 minutes

- More than 20 minutes, may come and go

Other symptoms

- Shortness of breath, dizziness

- Shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness

Relief of Pain

- Rest and/or nitroglycerine

- No relief with rest or nitroglycerine

Cause of Pain

  • Narrowing of coronary artery results in too little blood getting to the heart muscle
  • No damage to heart muscle
  • Complete blockage of a coronary artery results in no blood getting to the heart muscle
  • Damage to the heart muscle


  • Rest
  • Take nitro as prescribed
  • Monitor symptoms

Call ambulance (911)

The articles, on the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada website, are presented with the understanding that the Foundation is providing information only and not rendering medical advise. Please check with your family physician, specialist or health care professional before implementing any of the ideas expressed in these articles.

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