About the disease
Myocardial infarction is damage to the heart muscle when blood flow stops running to a certain part of the heart. It is usually caused by coronary artery disease. This disease can develop because of such factors as older age, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, obesity, alcoholism and bad dietary habits. If not treated in a timely manner, myocardial infarction can result in heart failure or cardiac arrest. According to statistics, 36% of myocardial infarction cases are caused by smoking and 20% are caused by obesity. About 10% of cases are caused by a lack of physical activity. In 3% of cases, myocardial infarction is caused by job-related stress. Heart attacks are more common in men, but because of the fact that life expectancy of women is slightly higher, there is a bigger amount of death cases in women. In the USA alone, about 71,500 people annually will have a heart attack. About 15% of them will die of this. There are about 3.7 million people worldwide who go to the hospital because of heart disease.
- Burning, painful feeling in the chest, caused by a lack of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle
- Pain in the left arm
- Shortness of breath
- Discomfort in the jaw, back and abdomen
- Fast heart rate
- An Electrocardiogram can estimate ST-elevation, which is an increase in proteins in the blood. Such an increase can occur mainly because of damage to the heart muscle. It also measures the heart’s electrical activity. This is the main indicator of myocardial infarction.
- Cardiac markers, such as troponin, also estimate the quantity of proteins in the blood.
- Echocardiography can show the areas of the heart that do not function properly.
- In some cases, doctors perform a stress test to see how the patient's heart responds to stress.
- Coronary angioplasty with stent placement is an opening of narrowed coronary arteries, responsible for supplying blood to the heart. After that, a metal tube called a stent is placed into the coronary artery to keep it wide. The stent can be coated with a special drug-eluting stent, which will considerably decrease the chances of the artery closing again. During this procedure, the doctor uses a catheter, which is inserted into the artery and then led along this blood vessel to the heart.
- The implantation of a cardioverter defibrillator is a procedure during which a heart rhythm control device is implanted under the patient’s skin. If the device detects an abnormal heart rhythm, the defibrillator generates waves of mild electric shock which restore heart rate. It works both for slow and rapid heart rhythm and is especially recommended if a patient has just had a myocardial infarction, to prevent further seizures.
- Coronary bypass surgery (cabg) with valve replacement is a surgery that also aims to restore normal heart beat. During this procedure, the surgeon diverts blood flow from the blocked heart artery and creates a new pathway, which corrects blood flow. After this, a healthy blood vessel is removed from the arm, chest or leg and then connected to the heart arteries. In this way, blood bypasses the blocked area. Damaged valves are also replaced, to make the heart function more efficiently.
A doctor will choose which of these three methods would be the best to treat your heart, depending on your general health, age and severity of the heart attack you have suffered.