Vasospasm is a sudden narrowing of an artery, caused by a
chemical imbalance, that can feel like a heart attack. It can
disrupt the heart's rhythm or trigger a heart attack in a person
with clogged arteries or a weak heart. If you have had episodes
of chest pain but have been told your arteries are clear, you
could have overly sensitive coronary arteries that spasm under
certain conditions. Ask your doctor if a test to provoke
vasospasm is right for you. It is done by injecting into the
coronary arteries a medication such as ergonovine or
acetylcholine that can make sensitive arteries constrict. If the
test induces vasospasm, taking a calcium-channel blocker or
long-acting nitrate could help prevent future episodes.
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