Acute coronary syndrome

Dr Tom Foster and Dr Craig Hacking et al.

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is a group of cardiac diagnoses along a spectrum of severity due to the interruption of coronary blood flow to the myocardium, which in decreasing severity are:

  • ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)
  • non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)
  • unstable angina

Stable angina is not considered an ACS.


Of all patients who present to emergency departments with symptoms of ACS, only 20-25% will have ACS confirmed as their discharge diagnosis 1,2



The most common cause by far is atherosclerotic plaque rupture in coronary artery disease. Other less common causes include:

Unusual variants:

Share article

Article information

rID: 39195
Tag: refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.