How will I know if I have angina?
Chest pain can sometimes start off as a dull pain or ache. It's sometimes described as heaviness, burning, tightness, constriction or squeezing sensation, a heavy weight or pressure. For some people chest pain can feel similar to indigestion or heartburn.
- How angina feels for you depends on the position of the narrowed artery(s) and how severe the narrowing is. This accounts for the wide range of possible symptoms.
How is angina diagnosed?
If you have unexplained chest pain then you must seek urgent medical advice as you will need an assessment of your overall health.
This can be done either in a Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic (RACPC) or by your GP if the necessary tests are available.
An assessment will consist of:
- Questions about what brings on the chest pain and what relieves it
- Ruling out other possible causes of chest pain
- Checking for any risk factors that may be contributing to your angina
- Measuring your weight and blood pressure
- Blood tests
- An electrocardiogram (ECG), which gives a record of the electrical activity of the heart when you are at rest
Depending on your situation, further tests or investigations may be necessary. These can include:
- Exercise ECG: also known as a treadmill test or an exercise test
- Echocardiogram: also known as an 'echo'
- Angiogram: also known as cardiac catheterisation.
- Magnetic resonance imaging scan: known as an MRI
- Thallium scan: also called myocardial perfusion scintigraphy
Full explanations of these tests can be found in the tests section.Back to top