Angina is a common form of heart disease. Is it a highly dangerous condition with high risk of death in short term? What is one year death rate in patients diagnosed with angina?


Giving a definitive answer is not easy because angina is often not the only condition patients with angina suffer from. Thus, it can't be looked at "in a vacuum", so to speak. And, of course, it also very much depends on whether adequate medical care is available.

Numbers also vary between the forms of angina: stable angina and unstable angina. Stable angina might develop into unstable angina, which can be one of the first signs of a heart attack (What is angina?)

Stable angina

Long-term prognosis for those with stable angina is variable, with mortality rates of between 0.9%– 6.5% per annum

The management of stable angina

Since patients with angina are often older and already in bad health, these numbers might even be the same or close to the "normal" death rate. As you can see from the wide range, the risk varies a lot.

The introduction section of Favourable long term prognosis in stable angina pectoris: an extended follow up of the angina prognosis study in Stockholm (APSIS) lists a lot of studies that found an annual death risk of about one percent, often not different from control groups without angina. This is the rate for patients with good state-of-the-art medical care and treatment, though.

Unstable angina

Unstable angina is a condition that needs to be treated with emergency medical care, as it is one of the signs of a heart attack. If the patient survives the first months, the death risk returns to the level of stable angina.

This observational study reported that the in-hospital event rates for unstable angina included a 2% mortality rate, 4% progression to myocardial infarction and 3% recurrence of refractory ischaemia. By 6 months this had risen to 7% mortality, 7% myocardial infarction and 17% recurrent myocardial ischaemia. One year after the index episode of unstable angina, the cardiovascular event rate had returned to that of patients with stable angina and a similar risk factor profile.

Unstable angina: the first 48 hours and later in-hospital management

  • Please tell me if this doesn't answer your question - I searched for untreated rates, but that's kind of hard to come by, as ethically, doctors can't just let patients with angina go untreated and haven't done so for decades. – YviDe Nov 13 '15 at 10:00
  • Thanks for a detailed answer. From where have you quoted mortality rates of "0.9%– 6.5% per annum" ? I could not find it in nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/angina . – rncardio Nov 15 '15 at 12:59
  • @rncardio the source for that quote is "The management of stable angina" below it : bjcardio.co.uk/2011/10/the-management-of-stable-angina – YviDe Nov 15 '15 at 13:02

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