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Myocardial Infarction (MI) also known as Heart Attack

International Global Health

What is Heart Attack


A heart attack is the death of a segment of heart muscle caused by a loss of blood supply

A heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI) is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked – usually by a blood clot



The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person.

It is important for you to know the most common symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Heart attacks can start slowly and cause only mild pain or discomfort. Symptoms can be mild or more intense and sudden. Symptoms also may come and go over several hours.
  • People who have high blood sugar (diabetes) may have no symptoms or very mild ones.
  • The most common symptom, in both men and women, is chest pain or discomfort.
  • Women are somewhat more likely to have shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, unusual tiredness (sometimes for days), and pain in the back, shoulders, and jaw.


Heart attacks that occur without any symptoms or with very mild symptoms are called silent heart attacks.

The most common warning symptoms of a heart attack for both men and women are:

  • Chest pain or discomfort chest. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. It also can feel like heartburn or indigestion- the feeling can be mild or severe.
  • Upper body discomfort. You may feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach (above the belly button).
  • Shortness of breath. This may be your only symptom, or it may occur before or along with chest pain or discomfort. It can occur when you are resting or doing a little bit of physical activity.



EKG (Electrocardiogram)

An EKG is a simple, painless test that detects and records the heart`s electrical activity. An EKG records the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through each part of the heart. It shows the signs of heart damage due to coronary heart disease (CHD) and signs of a previous or current heart attack.


Blood Tests

During a heart attack, heart muscle cells die and release proteins into the bloodstream. Blood tests can measure the amount of these proteins in the bloodstream. Higher than normal protein levels suggest a heart attack.


Coronary Angiography

Coronary angiography is a test that uses dye and special x rays to show the insides of your coronary arteries. This test often is done during a heart attack to help find blockages in the coronary arteries.


To get the dye into your coronary arteries, your doctor will use a procedure called cardiac catheterization. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin (upper thigh), or neck. The tube is threaded into your coronary arteries, and the dye is released into your bloodstream.


If your doctor finds a blockage, he or she may recommend a procedure called Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), sometimes referred to as coronary angioplasty. This procedure can help restore blood flow through a blocked artery. Sometimes a small mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to help prevent blockages after the procedure.



If you suspect the symptoms of a heart attack, please dial 911 or 112 Bali Emergency Number and ask for an emergency ambulance.

While waiting the ambulance, it may help to chew and then swallow a tablet of Aspirin (ideally 300mg) as long as the person having a heart attack is not allergic to Aspirin.

Aspirin helps to thin the blood and reduce the risk of a heart attack

In hospital, the treatment depends on how serious your situation is.



Any time you think you might be having heart attack symptoms or a heart attack, do not ignore it. Call emergency medical careimmediately.




Thrombosis Adviser


National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH)

Heart Foundation


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