Prinzmetal's variant angina

Clin Cardiol. 1998 Apr;21(4):243-6. doi: 10.1002/clc.4960210403.


Although the prevalence of variant angina pectoris is unknown, it appears to be substantially less common than typical, exertional angina and unstable angina at rest. The patient with variant angina typically complains of a pressure-like, squeezing retrosternal chest discomfort of several minutes duration. The diagnosis is secured by the occurrence of transient ST-segment elevation in association with chest pain, both of which resolve spontaneously or with nitroglycerin. After the diagnosis is made, the patient usually becomes symptom-free on calcium-channel blockers with or without long-acting nitrates. Although the long-term survival of these patients is excellent, an occasional individual with variant angina sustains a complication, most often myocardial infarction, a life-threatening arrhythmia, or sudden cardiac death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angina Pectoris, Variant* / diagnosis
  • Angina Pectoris, Variant* / physiopathology
  • Angina Pectoris, Variant* / therapy
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Bypass
  • Coronary Vessels / drug effects
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Nitrates / therapeutic use
  • Prognosis
  • Vasoconstriction


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Nitrates