A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when an area of heart muscle dies or is permanently damaged due to an inadequate supply of oxygen to that area.
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
Shortness of breath
May occur with or without chest discomfort.
These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
If you or someone you're with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don't wait longer than a few minutes (no more than 5) before calling for help. Call 911 or your emergency response number. Get to a hospital right away.
Patients experiencing a heart attack may present with one or several of the following symptoms:
Many tests are used to diagnose a heart attack. Usually, more than one test is required before a definitive diagnosis can be made. These tests may include:
Both medication and cardiac catheterization with direct angioplasty is considered appropriate treatment for heart attack patients.
Medications used to stop symptoms of a heart attack, may include:
In some cases or when medications fail, the best treatment is to complete emergency cardiac catheterization and a mechanical treatment such as balloon angioplasty, stenting or open heart surgery to restore blood flow to the damaged heart muscle.
Important Instructions for Drug–Eluting Stent Patients
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Modern Treatments for Heart Attack
Stroke vs. Heart Attack
Influence of collateral supply on infarct size
- Kris Godlewski, M.D., FACC
- Carla Kingsley, D.O., FACC
- John Ribic, D.O., FACC
- Arrhythmias & Rhythm Problems
- Diseases of the Aorta
- Heart Attacks
- Heart Failure
- Valve Disease
- Non-Invasive Cardiac Tests
- Invasive Cardiac Tests (2 Day Protocol for Myoview/Persantine Stress Test)
- Cardiac Rehabilitation
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation
- American Heart Association