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Cardiology

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction) Treatment at CMC Dubai

A heart attack is a condition that occurs when the blood supply to the heart is significantly impeded or blocked. The blockage is often as a result of a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances in the coronary arteries. The entire process of plaque buildup is known as atherosclerosis.

The most common indicator of a heart attack is chest pain. However, there may also be additional signs and symptoms, such as dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people might not even be aware of any heart attack warning symptoms.

Types of Heart Attack

  • Type 1: In this type of heart attack, the plaque on the inner wall of the artery ruptures and releases cholesterol and other substances into the bloodstream.
  • Type 2: Here, the heart does not receive sufficient oxygenated blood it needs. However, there is no complete blockage of an artery.

Causes of Heart Attack

Coronary heart disease is the major cause of heart attack whereby plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Other causes of heart attacks include:

  • Misuse of drugs
  • Insufficient oxygen in the blood (hypoxia)
  • Torn blood vessels
  • Blood vessel spasms

Heart Attack Risk Factors

Some factors may put an individual at a higher risk of a heart attack. These include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Diabetes
  • Diet high in trans fats and saturated fats
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • High levels of stress

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Upper body pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Pain in the arm or neck

According to extensive research, women are more likely than men to experience the following heart attack symptoms:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting

Women are at a greater risk of a heart attack after menopause than before menopause because higher levels of estrogen reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Diagnosis of a Heart Attack

During the diagnosis of a heart attack, the doctor will perform a physical exam as well as a review of the patient’s medical history.

The following tests may also be recommended:

  • Echocardiogram (ECG): The test is used to check the heart’s electrical activity. It creates an image of the heart’s chambers and valves using sound waves, hence revealing how blood flows through the heart and what part of the heart is damaged.
  • Cardiac catheterization: A catheter is a small flexible tube through which a probe is inserted into the blood vessels to make it possible for the doctor to view in and around the patient’s heart where plaque may have built up. A dye is injected into the arteries and with the aid of an X-ray, it’s possible to see how blood flows, and view blockages if any.
  • Blood tests: Common blood test checks levels of troponin T (a protein found in the heart muscle). High levels of troponin T in the bloodstream are often associated with heart attacks.

Treatment of a Heart Attack

A cardiologist may recommend surgery or nonsurgical procedures for a patient who has a heart attack. The procedures can relieve pain and prevent a recurrence of a heart attack.

Common procedures include the following:

  • Heart valve surgery: In this procedure, a surgeon repairs or replaces leaky valves to help the heart pump blood normally.
  • Pacemaker: This is a device implanted beneath the skin to help the heart maintain a normal rhythm.
  • Heart transplant: A heart transplant may be recommended in a situation where a heart attack causes permanent tissue death to most of the heart.
  • Angioplasty: This is a procedure used by surgeons to open a blocked artery by removing plaque buildup.
  • A stent: this is a wire mesh tube that surgeons insert into the artery so as to keep it open after angioplasty.
  • Heart bypass surgery: The surgeon reroutes the blood around the blockage.
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