Myocardial infarction

May 2017


Definition


The heart acts as a "pump" for the body. It pumps blood throughout the body and plays a leading role in the circulatory system.

In the case of myocardial infarction, some branches of the main arteries of the heart called coronary arteries are blocked. The blood no longer flows and a portion of heart muscle tissue "dies".
Complications of myocardial infarction can be of two kinds: those occurring at the time of infarction and those occurring as consequences of heart muscle cell death.

At the time of infarction, the most serious risk is the death of the patient. Meanwhile, other problems can occur such as cardiac arrhythmia, cardiogenic shock, diseases of the heart valves, rupture of the heart wall or pericarditis.

Among the complications there is also abnormal heart rhythm, aneurysms, shoulder-hand syndrome, the risk of reinfarction, but also a major chronic heart failure, a complication that will have a lasting impact on the life of the individual.

Symptoms


Chronic heart failure, in this case called ischemic heart disease, will manifest itself via signs of heart failure of the left side:
  • difficulty breathing especially when pursuing physical activity or even at rest or lying down;
  • weight gain with edema of the legs;
  • tachycardia.

Troubles with cardiac rhythm will manifest themselves shortly after the apparition of the first symptoms. Aneurysms present no clinical signs except in case of rupture. The shoulder-hand syndrome manifests itself as a painful stiffness of the shoulder and hand.

Diagnosis


A complete set of tests will be performed initially after the onset of infarction (namely a coronarography to find the location of the artery that caused the infarction), but also at different stages in monitoring including an electrocardiogram - to search for arrhythmias and find evidence of sequelae of myocardial infarction- or a cardiac ultrasound to monitor the changing capacities of the heart.

Treatment


Treatment after a heart attack (after treatment given in the acute phase whose main goal is revasculariation) begins with a close monitoring of the factors of cardiovascular risk: stopping smoking, weight loss, lowering cholesterol, strict control of blood pressure or diabetes. At the same time, drugs are given systematically, namely beta-blockers, aspirin, a statin to lower cholesterol, an inhibitor of angiotensin converting enzyme, a diuretic to reduce edema and a nitrate spray to take in case of occurrence of new symptoms. Patient education is equally paramount.

Prevention


To avoid another myocardial infarction, it is important to decrease risk factors: maintain a balanced diet, pursue physical activity, don't smoke, and avoid carrying excess weight.

Related

Published by Jeff. Latest update on October 29, 2013 at 07:24 AM by Jeff.
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