Coronary vasospasm: A narrative review

Jacob Jewulski, Sumesh Khanal, Khagendra Dahal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Coronary artery vasospasm (CAVS) plays an important role in acute chest pain syndrome caused by transient and partial or complete occlusion of the coronary arteries. Pathophysiology of the disease remains incompletely understood, with autonomic and endothelial dysfunction thought to play an important role. Due to the dynamic nature of the disease, its exact prevalence is not entirely clear but is found to be more prevalent in East Asian and female population. Cigarette smoking remains a prominent risk factor, although CAVS does not follow traditional coronary artery disease risk factors. Many triggers continue to be identified, with recent findings identifying chemotherapeutics, allergens, and inflammatory mediators as playing some role in the exacerbation of CAVS. Provocative testing with direct visualization is currently the gold-standard for diagnosis, but non-invasive tests, including the use of biomarkers, are being increasingly studied to aid in the diagnosis. Treatment of the CAVS is an area of active research. Apart from risk factor modification, calcium channel blockers are currently the first line treatment, with nitrates playing an important adjunct role. High-risk patients with life-threatening complications should be considered for implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), although timing criteria for escalated therapy require further investigation. The role of pharmaceuticals targeting oxidative stress remains incompletely understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-463
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Cardiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 26 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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