- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Prinzmetal's angina

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An unusual and uncommon form of angina, often with long-lasting attacks, in which pain is experienced at rest and sometimes while in bed rather than during activity. It is caused by total occlusion of proximal coronary arteries due to spasm. Most commonly seen during the night and accompanied by severe disturbances of the heart rhythm. The electrocardiogram taken during an attack will indicate S-T segment elevation rather than depression. The condition occurs without preceding changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Most patients have underlying coronary artery disease, but some have normal arteries. A prolonged attack may lead to ventricular arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, heart block, and sudden death.

See also Heberden's disease (Heberden's asthma), under William Heberden, English physician, 1710-1801.


  • M. Prinzmetal, R. A Massumi:
    The anterior chest wall syndrome-chest pain resembling pain or cardiac origin.
    Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1955, 159: 177-184.
  • M. Prinzmetal, Rexford Kennamer, R. Merliss, T. Wada, N. Bor:
    Angina pectoris. 1. A variant form of angina pectoris. (Preliminary report).
    American Journal of Medicine, New York, 1959, 27: 375-388).
  • M. R. Prinzmetal, A. Ekmek, R. Keimamer, et al:
    Variant form of angina pectoris.
    Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1960, 174: 1794-1800.

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