Acute coronary syndrome is a term used to describe a range of conditions associated with sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart.

One condition under the umbrella of acute coronary syndrome is myocardial infarction (heart attack) — when cell death results in damaged or destroyed heart tissue. Even when acute coronary syndrome causes no cell death, the reduced blood flow alters heart function and indicates a high risk of heart attack.

Acute coronary syndrome often causes severe chest pain or discomfort. It is a medical emergency that requires prompt diagnosis and care. Treatment goals include improving blood flow, treating complications and preventing future problems.