Heart attack is defined as a life-threatening disease that occurs as a result of the blockage of one or more heart vessels. Chest pain and feeling of pressure in the chest are shown as the most common symptom of a cardiac attack.

What is a heart attack?

With the sudden rupture of the plaques in the heart vessel and the placement of clots on it, the heart vessel can suddenly become blocked. As a result, the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen. Heart muscle cells that are deprived of oxygen begin to die after a while. This process explains the heart attack definition. This condition is also called a myocardial infarction.

How common are heart attacks?

Today, 1 out of every 7 people faces a angina attack. Moreover, young people are now also suffering from this problem. According to the data from the Ministry of Health, 20% of those who have a cardiac attack die without applying to a health institution, while the risk of death in those who are treated by applying is as low as 8%.

What happens during a heart attack?

When a cardiac attack occurs, blood flow to part of your heart stops. At the same time, blood flow is far below normal. So this causes that part of your heart muscle to die. When one part of your heart can’t pump blood, it can disrupt the pumping flow of the entire heart. This reduces blood flow to the rest of your body. Sometimes it can even stop. This attack can be fatal if not corrected quickly.

Causes of heart attack

A heart attack can occur with a blockage of one of the blood vessels that feed your heart. This is mostly due to plaque, a sticky substance that can build up on the insides of your arteries. This accumulation is called atherosclerosis. Sometimes plaque deposits inside the heart vessels can rupture. A blood clot may get stuck in the place of rupture. If the clot blocks the artery, this heart muscle is deprived of blood. And a cardiac attack occurs.

Heart attack causes are:

  • Spasm of the artery
  • Rare medical conditions
  • Trauma
  • Obstruction that came from elsewhere in the body
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Eating disorders

Who is most at risk for it?

Certain elements can increase your risk of heart attack. And for the most part, these risk factors aren’t things you can control. However, the risk of heart attack in women is less than in men. Because, according to scientific research, the high risk of heart attack in men is due to the Y chromosome, which determines masculinity. Therefore, the likelihood of angina attack in female is much lower. Apart from these, factors that can increase your risk of heart attack include:

  • Age.
  • Family history of heart disease.
  • If you have certain health diseases.
  • History of preeclampsia, a condition that can develop during pregnancy.
  • Lifestyle.

Heart attack symptoms

Myocardial infarction symptoms appear in different ways in men and women. However, the signs of a heart attack are not the same in every person. But the symptoms that are generally seen are:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Sweating
  • Feeling dizzy or passing out
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • A feeling of “impending doom”
  • Anxiety

Signs of heart attack in women and men

As we mentioned above, the symptoms of myocardial infarction can be seen differently in women and men. Heart attack symptoms in women include:

  • Chest pain, but especially in the center of the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the back, shoulders, neck
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Signs of heart attack in men are:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, and shoulder
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Feeling tired

Symptoms of cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest is when the pumping function of the heart stops and the heartbeat completely ends. The symptoms of cardiac arrest are similar to those of a cardiac attack. But there are some distinctive symptoms. Include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Fainting or near fainting.
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats.
  • Unexplained wheezing.
  • Shortness of breath.


Angina attack are usually diagnosed in an emergency room setting. Here are the tests done:

  • History and symptoms: Your doctor will ask you about the symptoms you experienced. If your any friend was with you, your doctor might also ask them to describe what happened.
  • Lab testing:Some blood tests can provide evidence of your heart rhythm.
  • Heart-specific diagnostic tests: They are tests to measure the electrical activity of your heart.
  • Imaging tests: These tests give your doctor a way to “see” inside your heart.

Heart attack treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment of a cardiac attack reduces the damage to the heart. Before the definitive diagnosis of heart attack, various treatments are applied even in case of suspicion. These applications are as follows:

Supplementary oxygen

Oxygen therapy is applied especially for patients who have difficulty breathing. Thanks to this, the amount of oxygen in the blood increases. Therefore, the pressure in your heart decreases.


The treatments generally administered include:

  • Anti-clotting medications: These drugs dilute the blood to prevent clotting. The use of these drugs in heart diseases should be under the control of a doctor.
  • Nitroglycerin: This drug, which is also a powerful vasodilator, is applied to relieve chest pain.
  • Thrombolytic (clot-busting) medications: They are drugs that should be administered immediately within 12 hours after a cardiac attack. It is applied intravenously.
  • Anti-arrhythmia medications: After a heart attack, the normal rhythm of the heart beating may be disturbed. For this reason, these drugs, which are rhythm regulators, are applied.
  • Pain medications: Painkillers are used to reduce strong chest pain.

Percutaneous coronary intervention

The arteries that bring clean blood to the heart muscle travel on the outer surface of the heart and are called “coronary arteries”. Due to arteriosclerosis disease, narrowing and blockages may develop in the coronary arteries. This condition is called coronary artery disease in medical language. Narrowing of the vessel can simply be the cause of chest pain, while sudden blockages can lead to a cardiac attack.

The process of opening the narrowing and occlusion of the coronary arteries by entering the vein without surgery is called “percutaneous coronary intervention”. Percutaneous coronary intervention can be performed by expanding the vessel with stenosis with a balloon and placing a metal skeleton called a stent.

Coronary artery bypass grafting

SUMMARY Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery is to ensure that the side myocardium cannot bleed due to coronary atherosclerosis by using artery and vein grafts, thus feeding and oxy-enriching its blood. (the acronym is pronounced the same as “cabbage”)

Frequently Asked Questions

If you intervene immediately, you can recover from a cardiac attack. However, the cure rate of heart attack is 90%.