Unstable angina and myocardial infarction are prevalent manifestations of acute coronary artery disease, combined in the term ‘acute coronary syndromes’. The introduction of sensitive markers for myocardial necrosis has led to confusion regarding the distinction between small myocardial infarctions and ‘true’ unstable angina, and the application of ever more sensitive markers has accelerated the pace at which patients with unstable angina are being reclassified to non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. But in how many patients with acute chest pain is myocardial ischaemia really the cause of their symptoms? Numerous studies have shown that most have <5 ng/l high-sensitivity cardiac troponin, and that their prognosis is excellent (event rate <0.5% per year), incompatible with ‘impending infarction’. This marginalisation of patients with unstable angina pectoris should lead to the demise of this diagnosis. Without unstable angina, the usefulness of the term acute coronary syndromes may be questioned next. It is better to abandon the term altogether and revert to the original diagnosis of thrombus-related acute coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction. A national register should be the next logical step to monitor and guide the application of effective therapeutic measures and clinical outcomes in patients with myocardial infarction.

doi.org/10.1007/s12471-019-01328-6, hdl.handle.net/1765/121538
Netherlands Heart Journal
Department of Epidemiology

Deckers, J. (2019). Diagnostic re-classification and prognostic risk stratification of patients with acute chest pain. Netherlands Heart Journal, 27(11), 575–580. doi:10.1007/s12471-019-01328-6