Angina is a pain or discomfort in the chest caused by the insufficiency of oxygen in the cardiac cells. It often has a squeezing or pressure-like feel in the chest and usually lasts for no more than 2 to 10 minutes. Traditionally, typical angina should meet all the following criteria: typical chest pain in terms of quality and duration, it should be provoked by exertion or emotional stress, and it should be relieved by rest and/or nitrates within minutes.
However, many angina patients suffer from atypical angina. These patients do not have a typical chest pain and could complain about: a shortness of breath, excessive sweatiness, extreme fatigue, pain at a site other than the chest, a sensation of indigestion or discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen. This complicates angina diagnosis and contributes to its frequent under recognition by physicians and misinterpretation by patients.9
A careful history during the medical visit remains the cornerstone for the diagnosis of chest pain and objective tests are often necessary to confirm the diagnosis.1