Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Home Agent Orange Agent Orange: Ischemic Heart Disease

Agent Orange: Ischemic Heart Disease

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VA presumes Veterans' ischemic heart disease is related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. VA's final regulation* recognizing this association took effect on October 30, 2010.  Veterans exposed to herbicides do not have to prove a connection between their ischemic heart disease and military service to be eligible to receive VA benefits.

Learn more:

  • About Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Research on Ischemic Heart Disease and Herbicides Used in Vietnam
  • VA Benefits for Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Contact VA about Benefits

About Ischemic Heart Disease

Ischemic heart disease involves a reduction of blood flow and oxygen to the heart. There is usually a buildup of cholesterol and other substances, called plaque, in the arteries that bring oxygen to heart muscle tissue. Over time, this damages and weakens the heart muscle making it difficult for the heart to fill and pump blood to the rest of the body.

Ischemic heart disease is a common cause of congestive heart failure. People with this condition may at one time have had a heart attack, angina, or unstable angina. A few people may not have noticed any previous symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Chest pain behind the breastbone or slightly to the left of it. It may feel like tightness, heavy pressure, squeezing, or crushing pain. The pain may spread to the neck, jaw, back, shoulder, or arm.
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Feeling of indigestion or heartburn

Research on Ischemic Heart Disease and Herbicides Used in Vietnam

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in its report “Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2008”*† released July 24, 2009, that there is “suggestive but limited evidence that exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War is associated with an increased chance of developing ischemic heart disease.”

View more research on health effects of Agent Orange.

VA Benefits for Ischemic Heart Disease

Veterans with ischemic heart disease who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service may be eligible for disability compensation and health care benefits. Vietnam Veterans may apply for disability compensation for ischemic heart disease using VA’s Fast Track Claims Processing System.

Veterans who served in Vietnam or another area where Agent Orange was sprayed may be eligible for an Agent Orange registry health exam, a free, comprehensive examination.

Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of ischemic heart disease may be eligible for survivors' benefits.

Contact VA about Benefits

By Telephone

  • Toll-free Helpline: 1-800-749-8387 Press 3
  • Agent Orange Registry Health Exam: Call your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator
  • Health Care: 1-877-222-8387
  • Compensation and Other Non-Health Care Benefits: 1-800-827-1000
  • TDD (for hearing impaired): 1-800-829-4833

In Person

  • Health Care and Agent Orange Registry Health Exam: Go to your nearest VA health care facility.
  • Compensation Benefits and Other Non-Health Care Benefits: Go to your nearest VA benefits office.

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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.