Possible Prinz-Metal Angina?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Possible Prinz-Metal Angina?
Sat, 11-22-2003 - 9:26am
Sorry if this message is a little long, there's a heck of a lot of boring history here, I'll try to keep it short.

I'm 24, when I was 18 I started having stomach problems (pain, nausea, vomiting etc), which after a huge long investigative process led to a diagnosis of IBS when I was 20. I have since learned to control it through diet, and don't have to take any medication for it. When I was about 21, I started having chest pain, heartburn and what felt like food moving up my throat. My GP disgnosed acid reflux, and I was put on medication. Over the next two years the symptoms kept getting worse, and they kept increasing the dosage until I maxed out about 18 months ago. In June this year I had an endoscopy, which showed no acid damage to my oesophagus at all. The medication I am taking at the dosage I am taking would mean that I am producing no stomach acid whatsoever, yet I still get these episodes of chest and back pain. At my last dr's appointment he mentioned that I may have Prinz-Metal Angina (sorry if I spelled it wrong), and has referred me to a cardiologist.

Over the last 9 months or so, I've been spacing out my medication for reflux, so instead of taking it every day I was taking it every other day, or every two days (on suggestion by my doctor). I'm now taking it about once a week, and have had no change whatsoever in my symptoms, which would kind of indicate that the medication has no effect on it.

What happens is that I will be feeling fine, not doing anything particularly strenuous (ie sitting on the couch, driving, sitting at my desk at work, walking around shopping, etc), and all of a sudden I get a stabbing, crushing pain either just to the left of centre in the middle of my chest or slightly lower, in my sternum, and I start sweating. It is extremely intense, and I find it excrutiating to breathe deeply or move too much. The pain sometimes then shoots up into my throat/jaw. After somewhere between 1-15 minutes, the pain moves to my back, right between my shoulder blades and then sits there for anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, feeling like someone is kneeling on my back, but at least I can breathe again. Eventually, after resting, the pain subsides, and I feel absolutely exhausted. I have these episodes anywhere from once a week to several times a day, and the only thing that seems to make it go away faster is to sit still as quickly as possible.

No one on either side of my family have ever had a heart condition. A few years back, when I was undergoing tests for IBS, a doctor commented that my breathing had a very clear affect on my heartbeat, ie if I took a slow breath my heart rate slowed, etc. He called a student doctor in to hear it, apparently everyone has this, but it is just very noticeable in me. I don't know if this is relevant or just one of those quirky things.

In any case, my appointment with the cardiologist should be sometime in Feb (18 week waiting list). In the meantime I'm a little concerned (as you would be), because, like most people, I hear cardiologist and panic slightly! If this is prinz-metal angina, what will this mean for daily life? I'm not overweight at all, I don't smoke, I don't drink alcohol or much caffeine (no coffee, tea etc). I go to the gym a couple of times a week (although I've only had these attacks about 3 times at the gym, so it doesn't seem exercise-related). Does this condition indicate future, more serious problems?

I guess I have no idea what's going on, or whether my gp is on a wild goose chase here, but if anyone could offer up any suggestions I'd appreciate it!


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2003
Mon, 11-24-2003 - 3:41pm


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 12-16-2003 - 1:41pm
Hi - hope you're still around. I have Prinz-metals angina & was diagnosed 5 years ago after having a heart attack at 35yo. I also have no risk factors. Has your Dr. suggested trying nitro to see if it resolves the chest pain? Or calcium channel blockers? problem is, nitro can also relieve esophageal probs, so it's not all that definitive. I have lots of information on this so if you'd like more, feel free to email me at kathgor99@mail2world.com and I can send it to you. The good thing about this disease is that, with treatment, survival rates are great and quality of life isn't permanently affected.