Prodromal symptoms associated with acute coronary syndrome acute symptom presentation Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: Prodromal symptoms (PS), indicative of myocardial ischemia, are frequently unrecognized by individuals prior to an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). ACSs are the leading cause of death worldwide. This study describes (1) the prevalence and association of PS with patients' baseline ACS-related acute symptoms of pain intensity and state anxiety and (2) the relationship of PS to co-morbidity. METHODS: An exploratory sub-analysis was performed. Cross sectional data identified prodromal predictors of ACS pain intensity (numeric rating scale 0-10 (NRS)) and state anxiety (Speilberger state-trait anxiety personality inventory (STAI)). ACS patients (n=121) admitted to a community rural emergency department completed the prodromal symptom screening scale (PS-SS) and reported baseline cardiac pain intensity, state, and trait anxiety. RESULTS: Increased ACS pain intensity was associated with PS. Median pain scores were higher by two points for those with prodromal headache, p=0.006, and anxiety, p=0.017, and one point higher for those with sleep disturbances, p=0.012. PS were not associated with state or trait anxiety. Hypertensive individuals were 7.5 times more likely to experience prodromal fatigue prior to their ACS event. CONCLUSION: Results extend current knowledge of the predictive value that prodromal headache, sleep disturbance and anxiety may have on individuals' acute symptom presentation. A prospective, prognostic study is required in order to determine whether PS are predictive of adverse cardiac events and if PS are a stronger predictor of ACS acute symptom presentation, compared with typical ACS-related co-morbidities.


  • O’Keefe-McCarthy, Sheila
  • McGillion, Michael
  • Victor, J Charles
  • Jones, Jeremy
  • McFetridge-Durdle, Judith

publication date

  • April 2016