Athens Regional Health System

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

Myocardial infarction is more commonly referred to as heart attack, which is caused when restricted blood flow causes the heart to react to the lack of oxygen it is receiving. If blood flow is reduced for as much as 30 minutes, permanent damage can occur to the heart.

Major risk factors for myocardial infarction are heredity, age, gender (men past the age of 60 are more likely to be affected than women of the same age), high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, hypertension, a high-fat diet and a lack of exercise.

It is estimated that one in every five deaths in America is heart attack-related, and one of the most disturbing aspects of myocardial infarctions is that 63 percent of women and nearly 50 percent of men who die from coronary artery disease displayed no outward symptoms.

When symptoms are present, they include severe or mild chest pain (which can even feel like extreme indigestion), shortness of breath, nausea, prolonged coughing, dizziness and sweating.

Angiography, CT scan, echocardiography, MRI and blood tests are among the studies to detect heart disease, and treatment includes medication, thrombolytic therapy or surgical procedures, which can include a bypass and angioplasty.

WomenCertified award     U.S.News and World Report Best Hospitals     Consumer Reports     Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals     Chest Pain Center Accreditation