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Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

A heart attack occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked. If blood flow isn't restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

About Heart Attack

A heart attack happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can't get oxygen. If blood flow isn't restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die.

Heart attack treatment works best when it's given right after symptoms occur. If you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, even if you're not sure, call 9-1-1 right away.

Overview

Heart attacks most often occur as a result of coronary heart disease (CHD), also called coronary artery disease. CHD is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart....Read more about Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Danshen (Chinese medicinal herb) preparations for acute myocardial infarction

Danshen ‐ a Chinese herbal treatment ‐ is widely used in China in addition to usual western forms of therapy in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However there is no strong evidence to support its use, and few rigorous studies have been conducted. Well designed and conducted randomised controlled trials are needed to provide adequate evidence of its role in the treatment of AMI.

Bed rest for acute uncomplicated myocardial infarction

Bed rest is an inherent part of treatment for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). In clinical practice this intervention is prescribed in different ways and for different lengths of time. Current guidelines recommend at least 12 hours bed rest following AMI. However the basis for these recommendations is unclear. This review found 15 trials which were generally outdated and of moderate to poor methodological quality. Bed rest ranging from 2 to 12 days appears to be as safe as longer periods of bed rest. No evidence was found to support the current bed rest recommendations of not more than 12 to 24 hours. The optimal duration of bed rest after AMI remains undetermined from the available evidence.

Ticlopidine plus aspirin is better than oral anticoagulants alone for reducing the risk of revascularization, non‐fatal myocardial infarction and bleeding following stenting of coronary arteries

Stents are placed in arteries around the heart (coronary arteries) to keep formerly blocked arteries open. A blood clot (thrombus) may form in the coronary artery after stenting and cause acute myocardial infarction (fatal or non‐fatal) or more surgery. Blood thinners must be given for a short time to prevent clotting. Ticlopidine plus aspirin reduce the risk of complications after coronary stenting with less bleeding when compared to standard treatment (oral anticoagulants). Ticlopidine plus aspirin have other side effects such as bone marrow toxicity. Strict monitoring of blood‐cell counts is recommended during treatment.

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Summaries for consumers

Danshen (Chinese medicinal herb) preparations for acute myocardial infarction

Danshen ‐ a Chinese herbal treatment ‐ is widely used in China in addition to usual western forms of therapy in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However there is no strong evidence to support its use, and few rigorous studies have been conducted. Well designed and conducted randomised controlled trials are needed to provide adequate evidence of its role in the treatment of AMI.

Bed rest for acute uncomplicated myocardial infarction

Bed rest is an inherent part of treatment for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). In clinical practice this intervention is prescribed in different ways and for different lengths of time. Current guidelines recommend at least 12 hours bed rest following AMI. However the basis for these recommendations is unclear. This review found 15 trials which were generally outdated and of moderate to poor methodological quality. Bed rest ranging from 2 to 12 days appears to be as safe as longer periods of bed rest. No evidence was found to support the current bed rest recommendations of not more than 12 to 24 hours. The optimal duration of bed rest after AMI remains undetermined from the available evidence.

Ticlopidine plus aspirin is better than oral anticoagulants alone for reducing the risk of revascularization, non‐fatal myocardial infarction and bleeding following stenting of coronary arteries

Stents are placed in arteries around the heart (coronary arteries) to keep formerly blocked arteries open. A blood clot (thrombus) may form in the coronary artery after stenting and cause acute myocardial infarction (fatal or non‐fatal) or more surgery. Blood thinners must be given for a short time to prevent clotting. Ticlopidine plus aspirin reduce the risk of complications after coronary stenting with less bleeding when compared to standard treatment (oral anticoagulants). Ticlopidine plus aspirin have other side effects such as bone marrow toxicity. Strict monitoring of blood‐cell counts is recommended during treatment.

See all (211)

Terms to know

Coronary Artery
A principal artery that originates in the aorta. It supplies blood to the muscular tissue of the heart.
Heart
The hollow, muscular organ that maintains the circulation of the blood.
Muscles
Muscles function to produce force and motion. They are primarily responsible for maintaining and changing posture, locomotion, as well as movement of internal organs, such as the contraction of the heart and the movement of food through the digestive system.
Oxygen
A colorless, odorless gas. It is needed for animal and plant life. Oxygen that is breathed in enters the blood from the lungs and travels to the tissues.
Plaque
In medicine, a small, abnormal patch of tissue on a body part or an organ. Plaques may also be a build-up of substances from a fluid, such as cholesterol in the blood vessels.

More about Myocardial Infarction

Photo of an adult

Also called: Cardiac infarction, Coronary attack, Infarction of heart, Myocardial infarct, MI

See Also: Coronary Heart Disease, Atherosclerosis

Other terms to know: See all 5
Coronary Artery, Heart, Muscles

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