A violent paroxysm of painful sensations in the chest arising, for the most part, in connection with disease of the coronary arteries of the heart. The heart muscle has received an inadequate flow of blood because the coronary arteries are blocked, either through temporary spasm or narrowing due to arteriosclerosis. Angina pectoris in its severe forms, which are often associated with death of some heart muscle or heart failure itself (myocardial infarction), may be popularly called a heart attack.
Because of its association with coronary artery disease, angina pectoris is predominantly a disease of middle age and is much more common in men than in women. It is also more common in the industrialized world.