Myocardial infarction is the official medical term for what is colloquially known as a heart attack.
When a blockage develops in one of the two branches of the coronary artery that supplies the heart with oxygen-rich blood, part of the heart’s tissue dies of oxygen starvation. The process takes a few hours, so seeking treatment for a heart attack immediately can give the doctors a chance to restore blood flow and limit the damage to the heart.
The very first signs of a heart attack are the most important ones. If you notice chest pain that only lasts for a few minutes at a time, this is known as angina and it’s an early sign your heart’s blood flow is being blocked. About 75% of heart attacks include this kind of warning sign. Once a myocardial infarction occurs symptoms will begin.
The faster you reach the hospital after noticing the symptoms, the greater your chances of surviving and recovering with minimal heart tissue damage.
Once the acute attack is addressed through the use of blockage clearing drugs and surgery, the doctor may use a stent to hold open the closed artery.
Other surgeries to prevent future heart attacks include bypasses that reroute the flow of blood, heart transplants if the heart tissue is very damaged. Lifestyle changes are also necessary to reduce the amount of stress on the heart.