Non-q wave myocardial infarction

What is Non-Q Wave Myocardial Infarction (MI)?

Non-Q Wave Myocardial Infarction, also known as Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI), is a type of heart attack where the heart muscle does not suffer a severe enough injury to cause a notable elevation in its electrical tracing known as a Q wave.

This type of event is less severe than a true ST-Elevation MI (STEMI), but still needs medical attention. The size of the infarct is usually less than the area of damage seen with a STEMI, but non-Q wave MIs can still be serious.

Causes of Non-Q Wave MI

Non-Q Wave MI is generally caused by the same process that leads to a STEMI. However, the degree of blockage is usually not as severe, which explains why there is not elevation of the ST-segment on an electrocardiogram (ECG).

Causes of Non-Q Wave MI can include:

  • Atherosclerosis, or the blockage of a artery in the heart that has been weakened by the buildup of plaque.
  • Atheroembolism, or small pieces of plaque that become detached from a weakened artery wall and travel downstream to cause a blockage in the coronary arteries.
  • Thrombus, or the formation of a blood clot at the site of a blockage in the coronary artery.
  • Spasm, or the temporary narrowing or contraction of the coronary artery.

Symptoms of Non-Q Wave MI

The symptoms of a Non-Q Wave MI are generally the same as that for a STEMI. These can include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness

Diagnosis and Treatment of Non-Q Wave MI

Diagnosis of a Non-Q Wave MI includes a physical examination, an ECG to look for ST-segment depression and a test to measure levels of a biomarker called troponin. Treatment of a Non-Q Wave MI is similar to that for a STEMI and includes medications such as aspirin and a beta blocker as well as angioplasty and/or coronary artery bypass surgery.

Non-Q Wave Myocardial Infarction can be a serious medical event, but it does not carry the same level of severity as a STEMI. Treatment is necessary for a recovery, and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.