Document Type : Review Article


1 Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of the Jequitinhonha and Mucuri Valleys, Teófilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, Brazil

2 Academic Department, Federal Institute of Bahia, Eunápolis, Bahia, Brazil

3 Vale do Rio Doce University, Health, Individual and Society Research Center, Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais, Brazil



Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) results from acute obstruction of a coronary artery which is responsible for a high mortality rate worldwide. The consequences depend on the degree and location of the obstruction and vary from unstable angina to non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death. The symptoms are similar in each of these syndromes (except for sudden death), involving chest discomfort with or without dyspnea, nausea, and diaphoresis. The diagnosis is possible; thanks to the electrocardiogram that is essential and the existence or absence of serological markers. In addition to these initial resources, other diagnostic methods are noteworthy, such as stress electrocardiogram, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, computed tomography angiography, and exercise test. Other necessary measures are the stratification of the identified cases according to the degree of risk, availability of a coronary intensive care unit, and the establishment of the opportune treatment that consists of oxygen therapy, analgesia, sedation, antiplatelet, anticoagulants, nitrates, beta-blockers drugs, reperfusion of emergency with fibrinolytic drugs, percutaneous intervention or, occasionally, myocardial revascularization surgery to provide the recovery and consequently a better quality of life for the patient. This brief review aims to discuss the available diagnostic and therapeutic resources and the appropriate risk stratification for adequate care for the victims of acute coronary heart disease promptly in a hospital setting.