Acute Myocardial Infraction
Acute myocardial infarction is the medical name for a heart attack. A heart attack is a life-threatening condition that occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is abruptly cut off, causing tissue damage. This is usually the result of a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries. A blockage can develop due to a buildup of plaque, a substance mostly made of fat, cholesterol, and cellular waste products.
While the classic symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain and shortness of breath, the symptoms can be quite varied. The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:
- pressure or tightness in the chest
- pain in the chest, back, jaw, and other areas of the upper body that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back
- shortness of breath
- a cough
- a fast heart rate
Your heart is the main organ in your cardiovascular system, which also includes different types of blood vessels. Some of the most important vessels are the arteries. They take oxygen-rich blood to your body and all of your organs. The coronary arteries take oxygen rich blood specifically to your heart muscle. When these arteries become blocked or narrowed due to a buildup of plaque, the blood flow to your heart can decrease significantly or stop completely. This can cause a heart attack. Several factors may lead to a blockage in the coronary arteries.
Bad cholesterol, also called low-density lipoprotein (LDL), is one of the leading causes of a blockage in the arteries. Cholesterol is a colorless substance that’s found in the food you eat. Your body also makes it naturally. Not all cholesterol is bad, but LDL cholesterol can stick to the walls of your arteries and produce plaque. Plaque is a hard substance that blocks blood flow in the arteries. Blood platelets, which help the blood to clot, may stick to the plaque and build up over time.
High blood pressure
High cholesterol levels
High triglyceride levels
Diabetes and high blood sugar levels
To determine whether you’ve had a heart attack, your doctor will listen to your heart to check for irregularities in your heartbeat. They may measure your blood pressure as well. Your doctor will also run a number of different tests if they suspect that you’ve had a heart attack. An electrocardiogram (EKG) may be done to measure your heart’s electrical activity. Blood tests can also be used to check for proteins that are associated with heart damage, such as troponin.
Other diagnostic tests include:
- a stress test to see how your heart responds to certain situations, such as exercise
- an angiogram with coronary catheterization to look for areas of blockage in your arteries
- an echocardiogram to help identify areas of your heart that aren’t working properly
A number of different medications can also be used to treat a heart attack:
- Blood thinners, such as aspirin, are often used to break up blood clots and improve blood flow through narrowed arteries.
- Thrombolytics are often used to dissolve clots.
- Antiplatelet drugs, such as clopidogrel, can be used to prevent new clots from forming and existing clots from growing.
- Nitroglycerin can be used to widen your blood vessels.
- Beta-blockers lower your blood pressure and relax your heart muscle. This can help limit the severity of damage to your heart.
- ACE inhibitors can also be used to lower blood pressure and decrease stress on the heart.
- Pain relievers may be used to reduce any discomfort you may feel.
Journal of Clinical chemistry and Laboratory Medicne