Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
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:
recovery, you may need physical or rehabilitative therapy to help you regain your strength.
You may feel
after having a heart attack.
can help relieve
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
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 Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115392/ST-elevation-myocardial-infarction-STEMI. Updated July 25, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.
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 Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115392/ST-elevation-myocardial-infarction-STEMI: 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 Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115392/ST-elevation-myocardial-infarction-STEMI: 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
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