Difference Between Angina and Myocardial Infarction

Angina and Myocardial Infarction is something majority of people are not aware of. It is common to see people becoming confused when they or someone who is dear to them suffers a situation when he experiences pain in his chest. Though both are closely related and tell tale signs of problem as far as health of heart is concerned, there is urgent need to make people aware of the difference between the two problems so as to take necessary action and medical help.


Literally meaning choking pain, Angina pectoris refers to a situation where a person feels pain or uncomfortable sensation in his chest. It takes place when part of the heart does not receive enough oxygen because of either blocked arteries or some disease in coronary arteries. This lack of blood means heart muscles get deficient in oxygen and other nutrients.

It is a condition that can occur when your heart has to work harder and at a faster rate and there could be many reasons for this condition including physical exertion, smoking, emotional stress or heredity. Those who have experienced Angina know how terrible it feels and the possible reasons that trigger the sensation. Usually, angina lasts for a few minutes only and as soon as the blood supply to the heart is normalized, the person gets relief and he is back to normal. Angina is of two types, the stable one and the unstable one. It is the unstable angina that can lead to Myocardial Infarction.

Myocardial Infarction

Myocardial Infraction is the condition when blood supply to the heart is stopped because of blood vessels carrying blood to the heart. When heart does not get enough oxygen, heart muscles die or get permanently damaged. MI is also called heart attack in common parlance and normally occurs when coronary artery is blocked as plaque surrounding arteries gets ruptured. This plaque is an unstable collection of fatty acids on the wall of the artery. The lack of blood supply and oxygen results in death of heart muscle tissue. In medical terms this death of muscle tissue is called infarction.

Sudden and acute chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety, palpitations and sweating are some of the common symptoms of MI. When a person suffers MI, he needs immediate medical attention and the extent of damage to his heart tissues is ascertained using Electro Cardiogram and Echocardiography. Immediate help is given through oxygen supply and aspirin.

Talking of differences, while angina is temporary, and as soon as blood supply to the heart is resumed, it starts to function normally. On the other hand, in the case of MI, the heart gets damaged and needs medications. There is no permanent damage in case of angina.


• Both angina and myocardial infarction are problems related with heart.

• In both cases, blood supply to heart is blocked.

• While angina is temporary, MI is permanent.

• Angina is less severe health problem but MI can even cause death.