Angina Services

Angina is an inadequate or an insufficient amount of blood getting into the heart muscle. The heart pumps blood around the body. The blood carries oxygen to the heart muscle via the coronary arteries.

When the heart is short of oxygen it lets you know by producing a kind of cramp/tightness/pain called ‘Angina’. Most people have a tightness in their chest which can spread to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.

Common things that increase angina type pains are walking briskly uphill, walking against the wind, walking in cold weather or eating a heavy meal. All these things cause a greater demand for oxygen by the heart. Once the patient rests or takes two puffs of their GTN spray (Glyceryl Trinitrate) this can relieve the pain.

You are more likely to suffer angina if you smoke, have high blood pressure or cholesterol, are overweight, don’t do enough exercise or are diabetic.

When angina symptoms present the patient may be referred for a procedure called angiography (dye is injected into the coronary arteries and X-rays are taken from different angles).

The x-rays will show where the arteries are narrowed and how narrowed they have become.
From the findings there are three options:

  • Medical management (Treated with drugs)
  • Stenting - this is a short tube of stainless steel mesh inserted and expanded at the narrowed section in the coronary arteries to open it up and allow a better blood flow to go in to allow more oxygen back into the heart, thus reducing the amount of angina the patient gets.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery – this is major surgery and the aim of the operation is to get around the narrowed sections of arteries.

All these options are explained and discussed in full with the patient by the angina nurse.

Support and information is given to the patient and their family at the nurse led angina clinic. These clinics are based at Outpatients Department in Causeway Hospital with extra clinics running in Ballymoney Health Centre for the wider Ballymoney community and Cloughmills and Ahoghill areas. Clinics are also held in Dalriada Hospital for patients in the Ballycastle and Glens areas.

‘Cardiac Surgery Education Sessions’ have been offered to patients on the Cardiac Surgery waiting list since December 2014. These are patients mainly waiting at home for up to 26 weeks for Coronary Artery By-pass surgery +/- valve surgery. Ischaemic Heart Disease is explained at the talk. The surgery with pre- operative tests and post–operative care are explained with psychological support from the Northern Trust Psychology Service. Although the Angina service is based at Causeway Hospital, all patients throughout the Northern Trust area can attend. They take place every three to four months.

Contact Details
Yvonne Stewart
Angina Nurse
Causeway Hospital
Tel: 028 7034 6313

Page last updated:25 May 2017