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.
Clinics are held in Causeway Hospital. At clinics, patients are given education, advice on the risks and measures to take to prevent an angina attack.
See the video and links for more information.
The Angina Nurse Specialist (Northern Health and Social Care Trust) is based at Causeway Location only and aims to;
- Provide information/education on Coronary Artery Disease (Angina/Unstable Angina) and its progression
- Support for the person living with Angina symptoms, the carer and family
- Advice on medication management and review. Titration of anti-anginal medication and advice and support of compliance with angina medication
- Use of GTN spray explained and when to seek medical attention if needed
- Offer advice and support on lifestyle changes and identify individual risk factors
- Liaison with consultants and GPs plus referrals to other members of the multi-disciplinary team
- Provide training and advice to other health care professionals
- Provide nurse led clinics for the Angina patients
- Support and advice when a person with Angina is admitted to hospital
- Support for the patient waiting for Cardiac Surgery (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting +/- Valve repair or replacement) in-hospital and those waiting at home by reviewing at an Angina clinic
- Advice and information on further investigations and procedures, for example: Angiography with or without Percutaneous Coronary intervention(PCI) Exercise Stress Tests, Myocardial Perfusion Scans and Cardiac Echo’s
Referrals can be made to the Angina Nurse Led Service by the cardiologist in charge of care or another consultant, from a GP practice, or from another Cardiac Specialist Nurse service such as Cardiac Rehabilitation Service / Heart Failure Team/ or RACPC.