Myocardial infarction

Other names: Heart attack

DEFINITION

A Heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, most often by a build-up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries). The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. It's crucial to call 911 or emergency medical help if you think you might be having a Heart attack.

SYMPTOMS

CAUSES

A Heart attack occurs when one or more coronary arteries become blocked due to factors like atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries), plaque rupture, blood clot formation, coronary artery spasm, tobacco use, and drug abuse.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for Heart attack include age, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, family history of Heart attack, lack of physical activity, obesity, stress, illegal drug use, preeclampsia history, and autoimmune conditions.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications of a Heart attack may include abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, heart rupture, and valve problems.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Before your appointment regarding Heart attack risk assessment and prevention:

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Tests for diagnosing a Heart attack may include an electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests for cardiac enzymes, chest X-ray, echocardiogram, coronary angiography, exercise stress test, and cardiac CT/MRI.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment for a Heart attack may involve medications like aspirin, thrombolytics, antiplatelet agents; procedures like coronary angioplasty/stenting or bypass surgery; and lifestyle changes post-recovery.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

To prevent future Heart attacks:

COPING AND SUPPORT

Coping strategies after a Heart attack:


QUESTIONS

  1. What is a common symptom of a Heart attack?

Chest pain or discomfort

  1. What should you do if you suspect someone is having a Heart attack?

Call 911 immediately

  1. What are some risk factors for a Heart attack?

High blood pressure and smoking

  1. How is a Heart attack diagnosed in an emergency setting?

Through an electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood tests for cardiac enzymes

  1. What treatment may be given during a Heart attack to help maintain blood flow through narrowed arteries?

Aspirin

  1. What lifestyle changes can help prevent future Heart attacks?

Maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise

  1. What is one potential complication of a Heart attack related to abnormal heart rhythms?

Arrhythmias

  1. How can someone prepare for their appointment regarding their risk of a Heart attack?

By writing down symptoms and questions for the doctor

  1. What procedure involves inserting a metal mesh stent into a blocked coronary artery to restore blood flow?

Coronary angioplasty and stenting

  1. Why is it important to attend cardiac rehabilitation after experiencing a Heart attack?

To focus on medications, lifestyle changes, emotional issues, and gradual return to normal activities