acute coronary syndromes, chest pain, symptoms



  1. DeVon, Holli A. PhD, RN
  2. Ryan, Catherine J. PhD, RN, CS, CCRN


Coronary heart disease is the primary health risk for all Americans. Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) is the term used to denote any 1 of 3 clinical manifestations of coronary heart disease: unstable angina, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction, and ST-elevation MI. The major challenge to healthcare providers is the rapid and accurate identification of patients with ACS who would benefit from immediate thrombolysis or percutaneous coronary interventions. The purpose of this article is to describe the incidence, causes, risk factors, assessment, and diagnosis of patients presenting with ACS as well as current recommendations for nurses who treat patients with ACS.