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Management of stable angina: summary of NICE guidance
  1. Robert A Henderson1,
  2. Norma O'Flynn2 on behalf of the Guideline Development Group*
  1. 1Trent Cardiac Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2National Clinical Guideline Centre, Royal College of Physicians, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr R A Henderson, Trent Cardiac Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals, City Hospital Campus, Hucknall Road, Nottingham, NG51PB, UK; robert.henderson{at}

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The management of patients with stable angina presents clinicians and healthcare providers with a major clinical and health economic challenge. The Health Survey for England 2006 reported that around 8% of men and 3% of women aged between 55 and 64 years have or have had angina, and these figures rise to 14% and 8% respectively for men and women aged between 65 and 74 years.1 Large randomised trials suggest that people with stable angina have a good prognosis with an all-cause mortality of around 1.5% a year,2 but population-based studies have reported substantially higher annual cardiovascular death rates.3 4 Moreover, a diagnosis of angina has a significant impact on quality of life, which deteriorates progressively in proportion to the severity of symptoms.5

The Euro Heart survey of 3779 patients with a new diagnosis of stable angina disclosed considerable differences between participating countries in the prescription of anti-anginal drugs, use of non-invasive and invasive investigations and rates of myocardial revascularisation.6 This variation in practice reflects uncertainty about the appropriate management of patients with stable angina and highlights the need for evidence-based clinical guidelines.

The recently published NICE clinical guideline (CG126) on the management of stable angina offers advice on treatment of episodes of angina, anti-anginal drug treatment, secondary prevention, the role of risk scores and non-invasive functional investigation, myocardial revascularisation, life-style adjustments and the management of refractory angina. Detailed review of the evidence for the guideline can be found in the full version ( and this article summarises the most important recommendations (see box 1). Other NICE clinical guidelines deal with the diagnosis of …

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  • * Members of the Guideline Development Group are listed in appendix 1.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Not needed.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.