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The majority of cases are due to there being some narrowing in the blood vessels supplying the heart. This is usually due to the presence of some atheroma within the lining of the artery. Atheroma is like fatty patches or plaques that develop within the inside lining of arteries. (This is similar to water pipes that get furred up.)

Plaques of atheroma may gradually form over a number of years in one or more places in the coronary arteries. Each plaque has an outer firm shell with a soft inner fatty core. Atheroma leads to the blood vessels narrowing.
What causes acute coronary syndrome (ACS)?

Various other uncommon conditions can also block a coronary artery.

For example:

Inflammation of the coronary arteries (rare).

A blood clot forming elsewhere in the body (for example, in a heart chamber) and travelling to a coronary artery where it gets stuck.

Complications from heart surgery.

A stab wound to the heart.

Taking cocaine, which can cause a coronary artery to go into spasm.

Some other rare heart problems.

Chest pain caused by acute coronary syndromes can come on suddenly, as is the case with a heart attack. Other times, the pain can be unpredictable or get worse even with rest, both hallmark symptoms of unstable angina. People who experience chronic chest pain resulting from years of cholesterol buildup in their arteries can develop an acute coronary syndrome if a blood clot forms on
What causes acute coronary syndrome (ACS)?

What causes acute coronary syndrome?

Acute coronary syndrome happens because blood flow has slowed or stopped in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Acute coronary syndrome is typically caused by coronary artery diseaseCoronary artery disease, also called heart disease, is caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

What causes acute coronary syndrome (ACS)?
Atherosclerosis causes a substance called plaque to build up in the coronary arteries.

Atherosclerosis causes a substance called plaque to build up in the coronary arteries. Plaque causes angina by narrowing the arteries. The narrowing limits blood flow to the heart muscle. A heart attack happens when blood flow is completely blocked.



The term ‘acute coronary syndrome’ covers a range of disorders, including a heart attack (myocardial infarction) and unstable angina, that are caused by the same underlying problem.
The underlying problem is a sudden reduction of blood flow to part of the heart muscle. This is usually caused by a blood clot that forms on a patch of atheroma within a coronary artery.

What is acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

The types of problems range from unstable angina to an actual myocardial infarction. In unstable angina a blood clot causes reduced blood flow but not a total blockage.

What is acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

Therefore, the heart muscle supplied by the affected artery does not die (infarct). The location of the blockage, the length of time that blood flow is blocked and the amount of damage that occurs determine the type of ACS.



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Emirates Cardiac Society (ECS) is a non-profit organization comprising of cardiologists within the UAE that work under the umbrella of the Emirates Medical Association.


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