Condition - Heart Attack

A heart attack (Myocardial Infarction (MI) or Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI)) is the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart which causes heart cells to die. It generally occurs when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. The blood clot that causes the heart attack usually forms at the site of rupture of an atherosclerotic, cholesterol plaque on the inner wall of a coronary artery. The most common symptom of heart attack is chest pain. The risk factors for heart attack include high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, tobacco use, diabetes, male gender, and a family history of heart attacks at an early age.

Signs and Symptoms

Although chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack, there are a variety of symptoms including:

  • Pain, fullness, or squeezing sensation of the chest
  • Jaw paint, toothache, headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Heartburn
  • Arm pain

Causes of Heart Attack

A heart attack happens due to the sudden blockage of the coronary artery carrying oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart. Most heart attacks occur as a result of coronary heart disease (CHD). The most common causes of heart attack include:

  • Coronary Atherothrombosis
  • Intake of certain drugs, such as cocaine
  • Emotional stress or pain
  • Exposure to extreme cold
  • Cigarette smoking


The treatment for a heart attack should start as early as possible in order to ensure minimum damage to heart and brain. In most of the cases, medical professionals begin diagnosis and treatment even before the patient gets to the hospital. Treatment procedures for heart attack include:

  • Primary PTCA (Ballooning of occluded artery) is the treatment of choice for heart attack.
  • Oxygen Therapy is a kind of therapy that provides patient with extra oxygen, which in turn helps his body to work well. Oxygen is supplied to lungs through nasal cannula, face mask, or a small tube inserted into your windpipe.
  • Aspirin is given immediately after a heart attack to reduce the risk of another heart attack or of the death of cardiac tissue.
  • Nitroglycerin is given to reduce your heart's workload and improve blood flow through the coronary arteries.
  • Medicines such as Beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, Anticoagulants, Anticlotting medicines etc.
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is used to treat heart attack in which a surgeon removes a healthy artery or vein from the body and connects it to the blocked vein or artery.
  • Angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure which aims at the opening of blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. This procedure is also called percutaneous (per-ku-TA-ne-us) coronary intervention, or PCI.
Browse by Conditions