Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Angina, a term derived from a Greek word meaning to strangle. Angina was used by the ancients to signify an inflammation of the throat or air passages attended by difficulty of breathing or swallowing. It is still used at times in this sense, as in the expression angina faucium, which is sometimes used in speaking of quinsy. The most common use of the word is, however, that which obtains in angina pectoris. Angina pectoris was the name given by Heberden to a peculiar form of neuralgia, in which pain occurs in the heart region, extending at times to the left shoulder and even down the left arm. The attacks come on quite suddenly, the patient appearing to be in extreme distress, and suffering the most acute agony. The subjects of angina are usually over fifty years of age, and are much more frequently men than women. The duration of the seizure is from a few seconds to several hours. and death may terminate the attack. Angina has been attributed to a cramp of the muscle of the heart, or to a spasm of the muscles of the small arteries. Much relief is at times afforded during the attacks by the inhalation of nitrite of amyl.