A heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction) is caused by a sudden worsening of the stenosis or complete occlusion of one or more coronary arteries. This is usually caused by the rupturing of an underlying atheromatous plaque. The end result is cessation/severe restriction of blood circulation to the heart muscles, resulting in muscular death (irreversible) if not treated on time. The classical symptom is the onset of acute sudden crushing central chest pains associated with breathlessness and cold sweats. The pain may radiate to the jaw or left armpit commonly, and the ability to walk or move around becomes limited by the pain.
Another presentation is a sudden collapse. In either scenario, the afflicted should be brought to either an emergency unit (by ambulance) within the next 10 minutes ideally. For collapsed patients, the commencement of CPR and defibrillation is of great importance. Diagnostic tests that can be done to evaluate an acute myocardial infarction are a basic 12-lead Electrocardiogram (ECG), a set of cardiac enzymes (blood test) including a rapid bed side test.
Prompt medical intervention is life saving. Patients usually receive an emergency Balloon Angioplasty with a Stent implantation, apart from medications., some patients may require an urgent Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG), or they may be given Thrombolytic Therapy (clot dissolving medication).