Myocardial Infarction ( Heart Attack): What, Who, And How

 A myocardial infarction (MI), also referred to as a heart attack, happens when blood flow to the heart's coronary artery is reduced or interrupted, harming the heart muscle. The most typical symptom is discomfort or soreness in the chest, which may radiate to the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw. It frequently lasts more than a few minutes and usually happens in the center or left side of the chest. Sometimes the discomfort may feel like heartburn. Other signs and symptoms could include fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, feeling dizzy, and cold sweats. Atypical symptoms are present in about 30% of patients. Women more frequently experience arm, neck, or fatigue discomfort instead of chest pain.

About 5% of those over 75 have suffered a MI without any symptoms in the past. Heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, cardiogenic shock, or cardiac arrest can all result from a MI. Coronary artery disease is the primary cause of MIs. High blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, inactivity, obesity, elevated cholesterol, an unbalanced diet, and binge drinking are all risk factors. The primary mechanism of a MI is typically the total obstruction of a coronary artery brought on by the rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque. MIs are less frequently brought on by coronary artery spasms, which can be brought on by, among other things, acute cold, cocaine, severe emotional stress, or Takotsubo syndrome (also known as broken heart syndrome).

Blood tests, coronary angiography, electrocardiograms (ECGs), and another testing can all be helpful in the diagnosing process. If ST elevation is present, an ECG, which is a recording of the heart's electrical activity, may confirm an ST elevation MI (STEMI). Troponin and creatine kinase MB are less often utilized in blood assays. Time is of the essence when treating a MI. For a suspected MI, aspirin is a suitable initial treatment. While it is possible to utilize nitroglycerin or opioids to treat chest discomfort, doing so does not result in better overall results. In patients with low oxygen levels or shortness of breath, more oxygen is advised.

Treatments for a STEMI include percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), in which the arteries are propelled open and perhaps stented, and thrombolysis, in which the blockage is eliminated with drugs. Heparin, a blood thinner, is frequently used to treat people who have non-ST elevation myocardial infarctions (NSTEMI), with PCI being used in addition in high-risk patients. Angioplasty may not be advised in patients with diabetes and many coronary artery blockages; instead, coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) may be suggested. Following a MI, lifestyle changes are often advised along with long-term aspirin, beta-blocker, and statin therapy.

More than 3 million people experienced an ST elevation MI, and over 4 million experienced an NSTEMI in 2015. There were approximately 15.9 million myocardial infarctions worldwide in 2015. In the United States, a MI affects about one million people annually. In the industrialized world, there is a 10% chance that someone who has had a STEMI will die. Between 1990 and 2010, rates of MI for a particular age have reduced internationally. An MI cost over $11.5 billion for 612,000 hospital stays in 2011, ranking among the top five most expensive conditions for inpatient admissions in the US.

Myocardial Infarction
Acute Myocardial Infarction: What Causes It?

The main organ of your cardiovascular system, which also consists of many blood channel kinds, is your heart. The arteries are some of the most significant blood vessels. They deliver blood that is enriched with oxygen to every organ in your body. Your heart muscle receives blood that is oxygen-rich thanks to the coronary arteries. The blood supply to your heart can dramatically or entirely diminish if these arteries are obstructed or restricted as a result of a deposit of plaque. Heart attacks may result from this.

Acute Myocardial Infarction: Who is At Risk?

The amount of fat in food can be a significant heart disease risk factor. Heart disease is more common in people who consume a lot of processed and fried foods, as well as some meat and dairy products that contain dangerous saturated and trans-saturated fats. This risk may rise with obesity.

One study found that switching 2 percent of the calories from carbohydrates to trans fat increased the risk of heart disease by double.

Triglycerides, a type of fat found in your blood, are also used to store extra energy from the food you eat. You may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease if your blood triglyceride level is high.

Your risk may be increased if you also have a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your blood. This is because LDL cholesterol can cause plaque, a hard substance that prevents blood flow in the arteries, by adhering to the walls of your arteries.

A balanced diet with minimally processed foods is often important to lower your cholesterol and harmful body fat, as is the occasional use of statin drugs.

The ideal diet for you can be suggested by your doctor, who can also decide whether you need to take any drugs.

There Are Additional Risks

High Blood Pressure:- This may harm your arteries and hasten the formation of plaque.

High Blood Sugar Levels:- High blood sugar levels can harm blood arteries and ultimately cause coronary heart disease.

Smoking:- Smoking may increase your risk for heart attack and lead to other cardiovascular problems and disorders.

Age:- As you become older, your chance of suffering a heart attack rises. Beyond the age of 45, men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, and after the age of 55, women are more likely to experience one.

Sex:- Men are not only much more likely than women to experience a heart attack, but they also frequently do so earlier in life.

Family history:- If your family has a history of early heart disease, you are more likely to experience a heart attack. If you have male family members who experienced heart illness before age 55 or female family members who experienced heart disease before age 65, your risk is heightened.

Stress:- Stress may potentially cause an acute myocardial infarction, albeit there is still scant evidence to support this. Over time, lowering long-term stress or worry can assist in lowering the risk of a heart attack and other cardiac issues.

Physical inactivity:- Regular exercise helps lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels while also assisting you in maintaining a healthy weight.

Drug use:- Drug usage can cause blood arteries to become more constricted, increasing the risk of a heart attack. Examples of such drugs include cocaine and amphetamines.

Preeclampsia:- A history of preeclampsia, or high blood pressure during pregnancy, may put you at an increased risk for cardiac issues in later life.

Acute Myocardial Infarction: How is It Diagnosed?

Your doctor will review the history of your symptoms and your vital signs, such as blood pressure, to decide whether you've had a heart attack. Then, your doctor will finish a physical examination, paying close attention to the heart.

If your doctor thinks you've suffered a heart attack, they'll also order a variety of tests. Your heart's electrical activity may be measured using an electrocardiogram (EKG).

Blood tests will also be done to look for substances like troponin that are linked to cardiac damage.

To check for artery blockages, your doctor could also perform an angiography along with cardiac catheterization.

Acute Myocardial Infarction: How is it Treated?

Most treatments for heart attacks start in the emergency room because they need to be treated right away. Medication may be prescribed as part of your treatment to treat blood clots, lessen pain, or lower your heart rate.

A less invasive surgery termed percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), formerly known as an angioplasty with a stent, may also be recommended by the doctor. The arteries that feed blood to the heart are unblocked using this treatment.

In the United States, only 36%Trusted Source of hospitals is equipped to carry out this surgery. They might move you to another hospital that can conduct an angioplasty if your hospital is unable to.

In order to access the blockage during the procedure, your surgeon will place a long, thin tube known as a catheter through your artery. The artery will then be reopened, allowing blood flow to continue, by inflating a little balloon linked to the catheter.

A small, mesh tube known as a stent may also be inserted by your surgeon at the location of the obstruction. The stent can stop the artery from contracting once more.

A coronary artery bypass graft procedure can potentially be recommended by your doctor (CABG). In this operation, your surgeon will reroute your veins and arteries to allow the blood to bypass the obstruction in order to restore blood flow.

Sometimes a CABG is performed shortly following a heart attack. Give your heart time to recover, it is typically done a few days following the incident.

A bypass operation is another technique your doctor might advise you to have, as it creates new passageways for blood to circulate to the heart.

Additionally, a variety of drugs can be used to treat a heart attack:-

Aspirin and other blood thinners are frequently used to dissolve blood clots and increase blood flow through clogged arteries.

To dissolve clots, thrombolytics are frequently employed.

Antiplatelet medications, like clopidogrel, can be used to stop the growth of existing clots as well as the formation of new ones.

Your blood vessels can be widened using nitroglycerin.

Beta-blockers ease the tension in your heart muscle and lower blood pressure. This may lessen the extent of your heart's harm.

Aside from lowering blood pressure, ACE inhibitors can also lessen the strain on the heart.

You can use painkillers to ease any discomfort you may experience.

Diuretics can aid in reducing fluid retention to lessen the heart's workload.

After a Heart Attack, Management

The extent of the damage to your heart and how soon you obtain emergency care will determine your chances of recovering from a heart attack. The greater your chance of survival, the quicker you will receive treatment.

Remember that recovery is a prolonged process that could take weeks or months after you leave the hospital. You can be more susceptible to developing other cardiac issues in the future if you've had a heart attack.

For instance, if your heart muscle has sustained significant damage, your heart may be unable to adequately pump blood throughout your body. Heart failure may result from this. Your risk of experiencing valve issues and developing an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, is further increased by heart damage.

Additionally, your chance of experiencing another heart attack will increase. In fact, it's predicted that one in five persons who have had a heart attack may undergo a second heart attack within five years and require hospital readmission.

After having a heart attack, many patients also have chest pain, especially right after a big meal or vigorous exercise. If you experience any chest pain, make sure to consult your physician. To help with symptom relief, they may suggest specific drugs or workouts.

You might need to follow a cardiac rehabilitation program or take drugs as part of your treatment strategy, according to Trusted Source. This kind of program can support you as you go through treatment, teach you about healthy lifestyle changes, and gradually help you regain your strength.


Working with your doctor to make dietary and lifestyle changes is only one method to prevent a heart attack and encourage recovery.

It's crucial to discuss any worries you have during healing with your doctor. Joining a support group or talking to a counselor about your issues may be helpful because many people who have had heart attacks feel anxiety and despair frequently.

After a heart attack, the majority of people are able to continue their regular activities. However, you must gradually resume any strenuous physical activities. Your physician will work with you to create a detailed recovery strategy.

Is there a way to prevent acute myocardial infarction?

Even if you've previously experienced a heart attack, there are many precautions you may take to avoid one.

Eating a heart-healthy diet is one approach to reducing your risk. Reliable Source This diet should mostly include:-

  • whole grains
  • vegetables
  • fruits lean
  • protein

In addition, you should eliminate the following from your diet:-

  • sugar
  • processed foods

People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol should pay particular attention to this. Your cardiovascular health will also be improved by regular exercise. Before beginning a new fitness regimen, consult your doctor if you just suffered a heart attack. Additionally, if you currently smoke, you should stop.

Your risk of having a heart attack will be considerably reduced by giving up smoking, which will also enhance your heart and lung health. Additionally, stay away from areas where people are smoking.


In case you are wondering why this global health issue is still a major concern, read on. Every year, over 1.5 million people in the US alone suffer from myocardial infarction and die due to a lack of awareness or proper treatment options. That's why it's time we become more aware of the signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction so that we don't let anyone suffer a heart attack or lose their life unnecessarily because of such issues.

Learn more about how you can identify signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction at home by reading what has been shared above carefully.

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