The expression myocardial infarction refers to death of cells in part of the heart due to occlusion or total obstruction of a coronary artery. Myocardial infarction is also known as a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that carries oxygen from the heart becomes blocked and the heart muscle becomes starved for oxygen, beginning to die. Heart failure does not necessarily cause a heart attack. A heart attack can occur at rest, during physical exertion, and is sometimes even followed by a strong emotional episode. Controlling risk factors is the most important way to prevent a heart attack. They may include: blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stress, diabetes, obesity, fatty diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, family history of myocardial infarction and others.
Myocardial infarction is considered a medical emergency. The sooner the individual gets to the emergency room, the better chance they have of survival. Prompt medical attention reduces the amount of heart damage and ensures breathing and heart function levels are regulated. The doctor will determine the most appropriate form of treatment in order to ease symptoms and prevent further complications from occurring.
What are the symptoms associated with the myocardial infarction?
Symptoms of a heart attack can vary from individual to individual. Not all who have a stroke report the same symptoms. Symptoms may be mild or severe and can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cold sweats
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain in the chest or sternum that can reach the neck, throat, jaw, stomach and arms (most commonly the left arm)
- Change in mental status: fear of dying
What to do
In the event of suspected heart attack, it is crucial to call for immediate medical assistance. Instructions on how to deal with such instances while waiting for a medical rescue team to arrive include the following:
- Place the victim in a half-reclining position
- Do not move them or have them exert themselves in any way
- Loosen any tight clothing on them
- Ask the victim if they have taken any chest pain medications
- Keep checking their breathing, pulse and level or response
- Keep the victim warm and calm
- If the victim is unconscious, perform CPR on them
What not to do
In the case of myocardial infarction, it is important not to underestimate symptoms, especially if the victim is considered at high risk of heart failure. Instructions on what not to do in cases involving a heart attack include the following:
- Do not leave the victim alone except to call for help, if necessary
- Do not give the victim any medications unless it is a prescribe heart medication, necessary for their condition
- Do not allow the victim to deny the symptoms and convince you not to call for emergency help
- Do not wait for symptoms to simply pass on their own
- Do not drive yourself to the hospital during a heart attack (condition may worsen on the way and getting in an accident is likely)
Disclaimer: The information in this article does not in any way replace the intervention or signs associated with this type of emergency, but rather only provides simple tips as how to keep the situation under control while waiting for a medical rescue team to arrive.