Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Acute MI Overview

Another name for Acute MI is Heart Attack.

What is a heart attack?
A person with a heart attack has damage to the heart muscle, caused by a lack of oxygen. The lack of oxygen is caused by a sudden blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle. Heart attacks occur most commonly in those who have hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain. The chest pain caused by a heart attack is usually dull, heavy, or squeezing. The pain is commonly located under the breastbone or on the left side of the chest, but the pain may also occur on the right side of the chest. A heart attack may also cause pain in the arms, neck, and jaw. Additional symptoms include excessive sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, palpitations, faintness, fainting, and severe weakness.

How does the doctor treat a heart attack?
Initial treatment for heart attack in the emergency department includes cardiac monitoring, oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, and medications to reduce pain and improve blood flow to the heart muscle. Additional treatment may include angioplasty and thrombolytic therapy.

Continue to Acute MI Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Acute MI References
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  7. Sheridan PJ, Crossman DC. Critical review of unstable angina and non-ST elevation myocardial infarction. Postgrad Med J. 2002 Dec;78(926):717-26. [12509688]
  8. Thuresson M, Jarlov MB, Lindahl B, Svensson L, Zedigh C, Herlitz J. Symptoms and type of symptom onset in acute coronary syndrome in relation to ST elevation, sex, age, and a history of diabetes. Am Heart J. 2005 Aug;150(2):234-42. [16086924]
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