Acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as a heart attack, is a medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, resulting in damage or death of heart muscle tissue.
The blockage of blood flow usually occurs when there is a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances that can accumulate on the walls of the arteries over time, narrowing the passage and restricting blood flow. Sometimes, a blood clot can form on the plaque, leading to a complete blockage of the artery and causing a heart attack.
The symptoms of an AMI can include chest pain or discomfort, which may radiate to the arms, neck, jaw, or back, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or vomiting, lightheadedness, and fainting. However, some people may experience atypical symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, or indigestion.
Diagnosis of an AMI typically involves a physical examination, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood tests to check for specific cardiac enzymes, and imaging tests such as echocardiography or angiography. Treatment for an AMI involves restoring blood flow to the affected area of the heart as quickly as possible to minimize damage and improve outcomes. This may involve medications to dissolve blood clots or improve blood flow, or procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) to restore blood flow.
Prompt treatment and early intervention are crucial in managing AMI and reducing the risk of complications, such as heart failure, arrhythmias, or cardiac arrest.