Treatment for angina can include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Procedures such as coronary angiography with stent placement
- Coronary artery bypass surgery
If you have angina, you and your doctor will develop a daily treatment plan. This plan should include:
- Medicines you regularly take to prevent angina
- Activities that you can do and those you should avoid
- Medicines you should take when you have angina pain
- Signs that mean your angina is getting worse
- When you should call the doctor or get emergency medical help
You may need to take one or more medicines to treat blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels. Follow your doctor's directions closely to help prevent your angina from getting worse.
Nitroglycerin pills or spray may be used to stop chest pain.
Anti-clotting drugs such as aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) or prasugrel (Effient) can help prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries, and reduce the risk of heart attack. Ask your doctor if you should be taking these medicines.
Your doctor may give you one or more medicines to help prevent you from having angina. These include:
- ACE inhibitors to lower blood pressure and protect your heart
- Beta-blockers to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen use by the heart
- Calcium channel blockers to relax arteries, lower blood pressure, and reduce strain on the heart
- Nitrates to help prevent angina
- Ranolazine (Ranexa) to treat chronic angina
NEVER STOP TAKING ANY OF THESE DRUGS ON YOUR OWN. Always talk to your doctor first. Stopping these drugs suddenly can make your angina worse or cause a heart attack. This is especially true of anti-clotting drugs (aspirin, clopidogrel, and prasugrel).
Your doctor may recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program to help improve your heart's fitness.
Some people will be able to control angina with medicines and not need surgery. Others will need a procedure called angioplasty and stent placement (also called percutaneous coronary intervention) to open blocked or narrowed arteries that supply blood to the heart.
Blockages that cannot be treated with angioplasty may need heart bypass surgery to replace the damaged blood vessels.