stethoscope banner

Conditions & Services / Myocardial Infarction

Cardiologists & Vascular Specialists located in Dallas Fort Worth and the North Texas Region

Myocardial Infarction

About Myocardial Infarction

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Though many people receive treatment in time to fully recover, others put their life at risk by postponing a trip to the emergency department. The skilled cardiologists at HeartPlace provide exceptional care during and after myocardial infarction; however, it's still imperative for each person to seek help at the earliest sign of a problem. To get a prompt appointment, call the nearest office, choosing from among their 30 locations across North Texas, or book an appointment online.

Myocardial Infarction Q & A

What is a myocardial infarction?

Myocardial infarction is the medical name for a heart attack. You may have one of the following types of myocardial infarctions:

STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction)

STEMI represents a classic heart attack. The myocardial infarction occurs because you have a completely blocked coronary artery that stops blood from reaching your heart muscles.

NSTEMI (non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction)

NSTEMI refers to a heart attack occurring when the coronary artery is partially blocked. Though you may suffer minor heart damage, this type of myocardial infarction still poses a serious threat.

MINOCA (myocardial infarction in the absence of coronary artery disease)

This type of myocardial infarction occurs when you don't have any blocked coronary arteries. Instead, one of the following conditions may cause your heart attack:

  • Coronary artery spasm
  • Microvascular coronary disease
  • Sudden tear in the coronary artery
  • Coronary artery embolism
  • Electrolyte imbalances

Of these, a coronary artery spasm most often causes a MINOCA. This condition occurs when the muscles lining the artery suddenly tighten and temporarily narrow the artery.

What symptoms occur during a myocardial infarction?

The symptoms of myocardial infarction may come on suddenly and cause severe pain. You might also have mild symptoms that gradually build. The symptoms of myocardial infarction include:

  • Chest pain, pressure, or discomfort
  • Pain in other areas (jaw, shoulder, neck, or the upper arm or back)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea

You may feel unusual fatigue before you have a myocardial infarction.

How is a myocardial infarction treated?

The ultimate outcome of a myocardial infarction depends on the type and how quickly you get medical care to restore blood flow to your heart. The longer you wait to get treatment, the more irreversible heart damage you sustain.

You can begin your treatment by taking aspirin to prevent additional blood clotting. Other treatments include:

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Nitroglycerine
  • Clot-busting medication
  • Pain medications
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Blood-thinning medications
  • Anti-arrhythmia medications
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Coronary bypass surgery

Percutaneous coronary intervention refers to nonsurgical procedures to open blocked coronary arteries. Your provider guides a catheter through your blood vessels and to the artery, then performs an angioplasty or atherectomy to remove the blockage and implant a stent to keep the artery open. 

Don't wait to get help for a myocardial infarction. Call 911 immediately if your symptoms suggest a heart attack. 

For nonurgent chest pain and symptoms that come and go, call HeartPlace or book an appointment online today.