Acute coronary syndrome

Dr Tom Foster and Dr Craig Hacking et al.

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is a group of cardiac diagnoses along a spectrum of severity due to the interruption of coronary blood flow to the myocardium, which in decreasing severity are:

  • ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)
  • non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)
  • unstable angina

Stable angina is not considered an ACS.


Of all patients who present to emergency departments with symptoms of ACS, only 20-25% will have ACS confirmed as their discharge diagnosis 1,2



The most common cause by far is atherosclerotic plaque rupture in coronary artery disease. Other less common causes include:

Unusual variants:

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Article information

rID: 39195
Tag: refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

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