Acute coronary syndrome significantly contributes to the morbidity and mortality of ischaemic heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death in Australia.1

It is estimated that 1.6% of Australians have experienced an acute myocardial infarction (MI),2 with an average of 157 people admitted to hospital for an acute MI each day in 2018.3 Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) refers to coronary ischaemia that presents with new or increasing symptoms.

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:
  • Define acute coronary syndrome
  • Discuss the pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of acute coronary syndrome
  • Discuss the pharmacist’s role in the management of acute coronary syndrome.

Competency standards (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.2.

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ACS includes ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) and unstable angina (see Figure 1). Australian clinical guidelines for the management of ACS estimate that nearly 13% of patients with STEMI will have a repeat myocardial infarction or die within 30 days of discharge from hospital, almost double that of NSTEMI patients.4

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