According to the American Heart Association, 1.3 million Americans suffer from angina that cannot be relieved with medicine or surgery, with another 75,000 new cases developing each year. Overall, an estimated 2 million Britons suffer some type of angina. Angina causes a sense of pressure or pain in the chest, which can spread to the arms or neck. The discomfort comes about when heart muscle is working harder than usual but does not receive as much oxygenated blood as it needs. The lack of oxygen causes a build-up of lactic acid, which is produced by muscles breaking down sugars to create energy. The build-up triggers nerve endings to signal pain. As a result, the nervous system becomes sensitized. Due to that sensitization, even if patients undergo surgery to correct the narrowed arteries, some will still experience angina pain. To relieve chronic, persistent angina pain when medicine and surgery are ineffective, spinal cord stimulation has been widely used in Europe. Several theories exist about how spinal cord stimulation helps relieve angina pain, and studies exploring its benefit continue.

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As a consequence of better treatments leading to prolonged lives, more and more people are living with refractory angina . . .

Reviewed April 2, 2012
Jaimie M. Henderson, MD
Director-at-Large, International Neuromodulation Society, 2011 - 2014
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, and, By Courtesy, of Neurology and Neurological Sciences; Robert and Ruth Halperin Faculty Scholar; Director, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery; Co-Director, Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory; Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA

Last Updated on Monday, November 22, 2021 11:03 AM