A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is interrupted. Oxygen cannot get to the heart muscle, causing tissue damage or tissue death.
A heart attack may be caused by:
The risk of heart attack is greater in males and older adults.
Factors that may increase your chance of developing a heart attack include:
Unusual symptoms of heart attack—may occur more frequently in women:
If you think you are having a heart attack, call for emergency medical services right away.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
Your heart function may be tested. This can be done with:
Images may be taken. This can be done with:
Within the first six hours after a heart attack, you may be given medications to break up blood clots in the coronary arteries.
If you have severe blockages you may need surgery right away or after recovery, such as:
During recovery, you may need physical or rehabilitative therapy to help you regain your strength.
Preventing or treating coronary artery disease may help prevent a heart attack.
American Heart Association
Heart and Stroke Foundation
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation
About heart attacks. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/AboutHeartAttacks/About-Heart-Attacks_UCM_002038_Article.jsp. Updated September 2, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 27, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
What is a heart attack? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack/. Updated December 13, 2013. Accessed September 29, 2014.
7/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Antithrombotic Trialists' (ATT) Collaboration, Baigent C, Blackwell L, et al. Aspirin in the primary and secondary prevention of vascular disease: collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomised trials. Lancet. 2009;373:1849-1860.
2/3/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Finkle W, Greenland S, et al. Increased risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction following testosterone therapy prescription in men. PLoS One. 2014;9(1).
Last reviewed August 2014 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.