Myocardial Infarction

Myocardial Infarction

A myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood supply to a specific part of the heart muscle is interrupted. This lack of blood supply can cause that part of the heart to start to die and can have serious consequences, including heart failure and death. Treatment for a heart attack focuses on both treating the blocked artery and improving the heart's functioning.


The most common symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain or discomfort, upper body pain in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.


Myocardial infarction is caused by a blockage of the coronary arteries, which are the main blood supply to the heart muscle. The blockage can be caused by cholesterol and fatty-buildup (plaque) within the artery walls, a clot, or other factors.

Risk Factors

There are a number of risk factors which can increase the chance of a person suffering from a heart attack. These include:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Age greater than 45 years (for men) or 55 years (for women)
  • Sedentary lifestyle


Treatment for myocardial infarction typically involves the use of medications to help improve blood flow, restore the heart's normal rhythm and reduce pain. Treatment may also include lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, increased physical activity, stress reduction techniques, and a healthier diet. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.