What is it?

Acute myocardial infarction is the medical term for a heart attack. A heart attack is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of your heart becomes completely blocked, causing damage to the heart muscle. This is usually the result of a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle. A blockage usually occurs due to a buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis) in the coronary arteries, a substance mostly made of fat, cholesterol, and cellular waste products. Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, excessive alcohol intake and advanced age.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Heart attack
- Acute Myocardial Infarction of Anterolateral Episode (STEMI)
- Acute heart attack anterolateral wall
- Acute ST elevation MI anterolateral wall
- True Posterior Wall Acute Myocardial Infarction (STEMI)
- Acute Myocardial Infarction of Inferior Wall (STEMI)
- Acute Myocardial Infarction of Lateral Wall
- Subendocardial Infarction (NSTEMI)
- Acute Myocardial Infarction of Inferolateral Wall (STEMI)
- Acute Myocardial Infarction of Inferoposterior Wall (STEMI)

Signs & symptoms

The most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort, that lasts more than a few minutes and may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck or jaw.
Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, a cough, dizziness, fast heart rate.

Diagnosis

if a heart attack is suspected, you should be admitted to a hospital immediately, and a number of tests will be performed. These may include:
* an ECG to measure your heart's electrical activity
* blood tests to check for proteins that are associated with heart damage such as troponin.
* Chest X-ray – this may be useful if the diagnosis of a heart attack is uncertain and there are other possible causes of your symptoms, and can also be used to check whether any complications have arisen from the heart attack
* echocardiogram – this is an ultrasound of your heart, that tells your doctor about the size of your heart and how well your heart muscle and valves are working.
* Coronary angiography, an imaging technique done through cardiac catheterization – this may reveal which artery is blocked, and may also be used to open the blockage.

Treatment

A myocardial infarction requires immediate medical attention.
Treatment options are:
* drugs including blood thinners to improve blood flow through narrowed arteries, thrombolytics to dissolve clots, nitroglycerin to widen your blood vessels, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors to lower your blood pressure and reduce the strain on your heart muscle, pain relievers, and medications to reduce blood cholesterol.
* Percutaneus Coronary Intervention (PCI), a procedure done through cardiac catheterization, may be necessary to restore blood flow to your heart (reperfusion). during PCI, your surgeon will insert a long, thin tube through an artery in your thigh or arm to reach the blockage and open it. Your surgeon may also place a small, mesh tube called a stent at the site of the blockage. The stent can prevent the artery from closing again.
* in some cases, a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery may be suggested. A CABG is sometimes done immediately after a heart attack. In most cases, however, it’s performed later.
* After a heart attack has occurred, it is important to enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program, and also control risk factors (such as blood pressure and diabetes) in order to prevent an additional event.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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