Vomiting can definitely be related to a problem with the heart, including angina.

For this article I consulted with Donna P. Denier, MD, of The Cardiology Center with the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.

“Angina can lead to vomiting, and it is one of the important signs of a heart attack,” says Dr. Denier.

“Vomiting can be a response to any pain. It is caused by stimulation of the autonomic nervous system.  When it occurs in the presence of chest pain, it is very concerning.”

Two days before my mother underwent emergency quintuple bypass surgery, she had a few episodes of light vomiting, following an episode of difficulty breathing. Two days later she had chest pain.

After her second ER visit in three days she was diagnosed with unstable angina, and that evening had the bypass surgery.

“Other signs to look for are sweating, pale cool skin. These are all signs that someone may be having a heart attack.

In some patients, such as women and diabetics, nausea and/or vomiting may be the only symptom of the heart in need of oxygen.”

HOW does angina lead to vomiting?

“Vomiting in the presence of chest pain is caused by increased activity of the autonomic nervous system,” says Dr. Denier.

“The ANS is stimulated when a person is under severe stress and suffering from pain.

“Internal organs can become stressed when they do not get enough oxygen and that can trigger the ANS leading to nausea and/or vomiting.”

Two Main Types of Angina

Angina pectoris is chest pain resulting from reduced blood flow through the heart.

The stable type means that the problem occurs in response to physical exertion or emotional stress like anger.

Unstable angina refers to reduced blood flow at rest, for no apparent reason.

This can even occur while someone is asleep, and then the chest pain wakes them up.

In such a case, it’s not likely they’ll be awakened by the need to vomit.

donna denier, md

Dr. Denier has been practicing medicine for over 15 years and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine – Cardiovascular Disease.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.