Patients with CAD may display one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain or pressure in the chest, arm, jaw, shoulder or, neck
  • A feeling of tightness, heaviness, squeezing, or burning in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced exertional capacity.

However, a significant number of people with underlying CAD and heart muscle oxygen deprivation (also known as ischemia) will experience no symptoms. Others will show only very subtle signs such as decreased endurance or energy. As a result, CAD is often a silent disease which progresses undetected until the first effects of ischemia appear. Symptoms of angina are the most common presentation of CAD. However, the underlying coronary atherosclerosis may also manifest suddenly as an acute heart attack or sudden cardiac death.6

Definitive diagnosis of CAD requires a combination of clinical examination, laboratory tests and specific investigations to confirm that the heart muscle is being deprived of oxygen.6


6. The CLARIFY Registry: Management of Stable Coronary Artery Disease in Clinical Practice. Brochure for participating doctors. Edited by G Steg on behalf of the BEAUTIFUL Executive Committee.