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Heart attack

Heart attack: Introduction

Heart attack, also called myocardial infarction, is a very serious condition in which the heart is not receiving enough oxygen to function properly. Heart attack is a common cause of death. About one out of every six deaths in the U.S. is caused by heart attack.

The heart requires a steady supply of oxygen in order to pump blood effectively to all of the body. Oxygen is supplied to the heart in the blood that flows through the coronary arteries. If a coronary artery becomes blocked, the portion of the heart that gets its oxygen-rich blood from that specific artery becomes damaged. This injury can become permanent within minutes and result in the death of the affected heart tissue. Medically this is called myocardial necrosis or infarction.

Heart attacks often result from a build-up of plaque and inflammation in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. This process narrows the coronary arteries and lowers the amount of oxygen-rich blood that reaches the heart muscle. This is called angina. Arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis are more likely to develop a blood clot that completely blocks blood flow, resulting in a heart attack. Risk factors for atherosclerosis include having high cholesterol.

The extent of the damage done to the heart during a heart attack varies depending on such factors as the area or areas affected and how long the blockage lasts. Damaged heart tissue or muscle does not pump normally and can also trigger life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Cardiac arrhythmias are abnormal heart beats or heart rhythms that can make the heart completely ineffective in pumping blood and lead to cardiac arrest and death.

Other complications of heart attack include the development of embolism, stroke, and aneurysm of the heart. The classic symptom of heart attack is crushing chest pain, but not all people will experience chest pain. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of heart attack.

Risk factors for heart attack include a having hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors include being of African-American ancestry, male, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, having a lot of long-term stress, smoking and having a family history of a heart attack at an early age.

Making a diagnosis of heart attack includes completing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination. This is often done in an emergency room. However, some heart attacks are "silent" and have minimal or no symptoms and may not be diagnosed until a person seeks medical care for another condition or for routine care.

Diagnostic testing includes an EKG, which takes a picture of the electrical activity of the heart and can reveal damage that is done to the heart due to a heart attack. This test, however, is not always conclusive. Blood cardiac enzyme tests and a troponin test are also performed to aid in diagnosis. Cardiac enzyme tests measures the amount of specific enzymes that are released into the blood from the heart as it is deprived of oxygen and being damaged. The troponin test measures the amounts of a certain proteins that are found in the blood as heart muscle is injured.

A chest X-ray is generally performed to see the size and shape of the heart and may reveal other conditions, such as congestive heart failure or pneumonia. Other tests may include an echocardiogram, which shows damage to the left side of the heart and a coronary angiogram, which reveals which coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked.

It is possible that a diagnosis of heart attack can be missed or delayed because sometimes the symptoms may be mild and attributed to other conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of heart attack.

If caught early, some heart attacks can be successfully treated before the development of permanent heart damage and complications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of heart attack....more »

Heart attack: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of heart attack may be overlooked or delayed because sometimes there are no symptoms or because some symptoms are mild in some people. Additionally, every person with a heart attack can experience different types and severity of symptoms, and not all people will have the crushing chest pain often associated with a heart attack. Some symptoms are vague ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Heart attack:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Heart attack. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Heart attack: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Heart attack

Home medical tests possibly related to Heart attack:

Causes of Types of Heart attack:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Heart attack:

Review causes of more specific types of Heart attack:

Heart attack: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Heart attack, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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Heart attack Treatments

The most effective heart attack treatment plan uses a multifaceted approach. This includes preventive care aimed at minimizing the risk factors for having a heart attack. Preventive measures include regular medical care to monitor and address such risk factors as high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Heart attacks are ...Heart attack Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Heart attack may include:

Review further information on Heart attack Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Heart attack

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Heart attack may include:

  • Arnica homeopathic remedy
  • Aconite homeopathic remedy
  • Latrodectus mactans homeopathic remedy
  • Arsenicum album homeopathic remedy
  • more treatments »

Stories from Users for Heart attack

Real-life user stories relating to Heart attack:

Heart attack: Animations

Medications or substances causing Heart attack:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Heart attack as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing Heart attack:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Heart attack as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Diltiazem and Cisapride interaction
  • Furosemide and Chloral Hydrate interaction
  • Synthetic Conjugated Estrogen and heavy Tobacco Smoking interaction
  • Cenestin and heavy Tobacco Smoking interaction
  • C.E.S and heavy Tobacco Smoking interaction
  • Propranolol and Cocaine interaction
  • Apo-Propranolol and Cocaine interaction
  • Betachron and Cocaine interaction
  • more interactions...»

Heart attack: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Heart attack may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Heart attack

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Heart attack:

Heart attack: Deaths

Read more about causes and Heart attack deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Heart attack

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have more »

Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be fatal. more »

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People more »

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can also more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only more »

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children. Some of the symptoms of hypertension that can be overlooked include more »

Heart attack: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Heart attack

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Heart attack:

Heart attack: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Heart attack: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Heart attack listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Heart attack as a symptom include:

Definitions of Heart attack:

Presence of a thrombus in a coronary artery, often causing a myocardial infarction.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

A sudden severe instance of abnormal heart function
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Detailed list of causes of Heart attack

The list below shows some of the causes of Heart attack mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Heart attack?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Heart attack. Of the 138 causes of Heart attack that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 7 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 4 causes are "common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 2 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 136 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Heart attack:

The following list of conditions have 'Heart attack' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Heart attack or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Heart attack:

The following list of medical conditions have Heart attack or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.



















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Causes of Heart attack Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Heart attack based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    What are the alternative names for Heart attack:

    MI, Myocardial infarct, Myocardial infarction, Coronary artery thrombosis
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Heart attack:

    Subtypes of Heart attack:

    Sudden cardiac death (9 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Heart attack:

    Heart symptoms (2927 causes), Cardiovascular symptoms (3192 causes)

    Symptoms related to Heart attack:

    Chest pain (1053 causes), Chest tightness (166 causes), Angina (41 causes), Heart symptoms (2927 causes), Myocardial infarction (38 causes), MI, Myocardial ischemia (1 cause), Coronary artery disease (106 causes), Atherosclerosis (35 causes), Hypertension (398 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Heart attack

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Heart attack and many other medical conditions:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Heart attack

    Medical research papers related to Heart attack include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Heart attack:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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