Cardiology

Study highlights potential targets for heart failure prevention

The prevalence of heart failure in the United States is a growing concern. A new study led by a Yale physician analyzes the variations in how often heart failure occurs in patients with risk factors such as hypertension, ...

Cardiology

Study reveals nutrients used by normal and failing hearts

A team led by scientists in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has produced a detailed picture of fuel and nutrient use by the human heart. The study, published this week in Science, was the ...

Cardiology

Social factors are key to identifying heart disease risk

Asking people simple questions about their social situation in addition to medical measures will give a more accurate picture of who might have a heart attack in the future, finds a study led by UCL researchers.

Cardiology

To repair a damaged heart, three cells are better than one

Cell therapy for cardiac regeneration, while promising, has been hampered by issues with long-term survival of the transplanted cells. Now, a technique that combines three different types of cells in a 3-D cluster could improve ...

Medical research

Heart repair factor boosted by RNA-targeting compound

A heart attack can leave parts of the heart permanently scarred and stiff, resulting in prolonged disability and potential progression toward heart failure. Scientists have studied various ways to repair or regenerate such ...

Cardiology

Heart attack damage reduced by shielded stem cells

Bioengineers and surgeons from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) have shown that shielding stem cells with a novel biomaterial improves the cells' ability to heal heart injuries caused by heart attacks.

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Myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die. This is most commonly due to occlusion (blockage) of a coronary artery following the rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, which is an unstable collection of lipids (cholesterol and fatty acids) and white blood cells (especially macrophages) in the wall of an artery. The resulting ischemia (restriction in blood supply) and ensuing oxygen shortage, if left untreated for a sufficient period of time, can cause damage or death (infarction) of heart muscle tissue (myocardium).

Classical symptoms of acute myocardial infarction include sudden chest pain (typically radiating to the left arm or left side of the neck), shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, sweating, and anxiety (often described as a sense of impending doom). Women may experience fewer typical symptoms than men, most commonly shortness of breath, weakness, a feeling of indigestion, and fatigue. Approximately one-quarter of all myocardial infarctions are "silent", that is without chest pain or other symptoms.

Among the diagnostic tests available to detect heart muscle damage are an electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiography, cardiac MRI and various blood tests. The most often used blood markers are the creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) fraction and the troponin levels. Immediate treatment for suspected acute myocardial infarction includes oxygen, aspirin, and sublingual nitroglycerin.

Most cases of STEMI (ST elevation MI) are treated with thrombolysis or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). NSTEMI (non-ST elevation MI) should be managed with medication, although PCI is often performed during hospital admission. In people who have multiple blockages and who are relatively stable, or in a few emergency cases, bypass surgery may be an option, especially in diabetics.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide. Important risk factors are previous cardiovascular disease, older age, tobacco smoking, high blood levels of certain lipids (triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein) and low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, excessive alcohol consumption, the abuse of certain drugs (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and chronic high stress levels.

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