Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a Mubadala Health partner, continues to be the catalyst for complex care in the region with the launch of an Invasive Microvascular and Coronary Spasm Program in the UAE. The invasive test evaluates for a cardiac disorder that causes angina (chest pain) due to the arteries that supply blood to the heart either spasming down or failing to dilate adequately, which can go undetected in routine cardiac tests.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi introduced a complete microvascular dysfunction and coronary spasm program in the UAE. The highly sophisticated testing method calls for specialized interventional cardiologists along with specialized equipment that can screen for abnormalities not only in the large coronary arteries but also the extremely minute arteries that are undetectable to the human eye. Without sophisticated testing, this condition will not be detected by the standard coronary artery angiogram and such patients end up suffering from recurrent chest pain that is incorrectly attributed to conditions such as stress and anxiety.
The prevalence of this condition appears to be higher in women. Those who smoke, have diabetes or hypertension, are also more likely to have microvascular angina and/or coronary spasm, which predisposes them to a higher risk of having a cardiac event.
Dr. Ronney Shantouf, Staff Physician, Cardiovascular Medicine in the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, says, “While the conversation about this condition is not new in the field of cardiology, it is becoming more widely discussed and investigated, and therefore we’re finding that this is not a rare condition as once thought. From what we’ve seen across the Cleveland Clinic network, it’s estimated that a significant number of patients who have angina may have some degree of microvascular disease or spasm. It is often missed or undiagnosed due to the nature of its symptoms and needs a specialized cardiologist and advanced technology to be identified these. In the past people may have been told it was a mental or ‘phantom’ illness and to visit a psychiatrist to understand the cause for unexplained chest pain, only to discover after specialized testing that they have this condition.”
Dr. Ashraf Al Azzoni, Staff Physician, Cardiovascular Medicine in the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, added, “We are proud to bring this sophisticated microvascular dysfunction and coronary spasm testing capability to the region through Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. While some treatments for microvascular dysfunction exists in the UAE today, this unique advanced program provides new capabilities and the latest innovation in medical technology to ensure a specific diagnosis is provided to improve patients’ quality of life. Accurate diagnosis is then supported by effective treatment options that include medications and lifestyle changes to relieve symptoms and restore a good quality of life.”
A variety of disciplines form part of the program, including interventional cardiology, women’s cardiology and cardiovascular imaging. The program also draws on the expertise of a similar program offered at Cleveland Clinic in the U.S.’.
Dr. Shantouf advises that if one is experiencing any unusual and recurring chest pains, to immediately seek professional help from a specialist, specifically if you fall into any of the high-risk categories mentioned.