Myocardial infarction: symptoms, causes, treatments

Infarction usually refers to myocardial infarction, the muscle of the heart. Nevertheless, an infarction can affect any vascularized organ of the body as soon as the arterial circulation that “feeds” the cells of this organ is interrupted. Definition, causes, symptoms, good gestures … Focus on infarction.

What is a myocardial infarction?

Myocardial infarction (MI), or “heart attack” in everyday language, is a death of the heart cells due to a lack of vascularization and therefore oxygenation of these cells. Most often, an IDM is due to the sudden obstruction of a coronary artery by a clot (“thrombus”).

How does the heart work?

The heart acts as a “pump” within the body. It propels the blood through the body and therefore plays a driving role in the bloodstream. During a myocardial infarction, one or more of the arteries supplying the heart (coronary arteries) become clogged. The blood does not pass, and the area of the heart normally irrigated by this artery is then deprived of blood. If the artery is not quickly disengaged, some of the heart muscle tissue “dies”.

Other types of infarction

Brain infarction

This is called cerebral infarction, another name for ischemic stroke.

Mesenteric infarction

We talk about mesenteric infarction intestinal.

Pulmonary infarction

A pulmonary infarction affects the lungs.

Bone infarction

A bone infarction is a lesion in the bone tissue whose cause is plugging of the artery that ensures its irrigation.

Alert symptoms of myocardial infarction

About 100,000 myocardial infarctions occur approximately every year in the United States. Every minute is important to unclog the artery or obstructed arteries during a heart attack. People with high cardiovascular risk and those around them must have the reflex of dialing 15 or 112 on a laptop when symptoms suggestive of a heart attack occur.

The appearance of chest pain is the typical manifestation of myocardial infarction. This pain typically occurs in the chest, neck, jaw, shoulder, arm or back. She appears brutally. She does not go away at rest. It causes the strange sensation of receiving a weight or bar in the chest. It may look like a “clench” (“like in a vice”) or a lot of pressure. Its intensity varies from a minimal degree to violent pain.

Among the warning signs of an infarct:

  • chest tightness,
  • difficulty breathing,
  • palpitations,
  • digestive disorders,
  • persistent fatigue and shortness of breath on exertion.

Special case: silent infarction
Infarction can also occur without pain or with atypical symptoms (more often the case in the elderly, in case of diabetes, and in women).

Symptoms of infarction in women

In women, infarction does not always appear as in men. The French Federation of Cardiology recalls that nearly half of women under 60 years of age, victims of myocardial infarction did not feel any classic symptoms.

Infarction in women: what are the signs and how to avoid it?
At 20, 25, 40 or 50 … More and more women, even young, have heart attacks. How to identify and prevent them? Answers from Pr M.Vehier, a cardiologist.

Cardiac arrest: the warning signs

In the United States, 30,000 to 40,000 people die prematurely each year from cardiac arrest. A situation that roughly corresponds to a cardiac arrest every 10 minutes and that is ten times more common than deaths by a road accident. What to do?

Symptoms of cardiac malaise

A heart attack often leaves permanent scars and can even lead to death. The first moments following the onset of symptoms of cardiac malaise are crucial. Knowing them allows you to act quickly to limit the aggravation and sometimes even save lives.

myocardial infarction Prevalence

“It is currently observed that the proportion of women under the age of 60 who are victims of IDM is increasing sharply, and in the French FAST-MI register, it has increased from 17% in 1995 to 29% in 2015. This is largely linked to the increase of risk factors in this population, including smoking and obesity, “explains Stéphane Boulé, cardiologist specialized in the management of heart rhythm abnormalities and a member of the French Federation of Cardiology.

myocardial infarction Diagnosis And Initial Care

The electrocardiogram is the first emergency examination by the UAS in case of suspicion of myocardial infarction. If this one shows that an artery is totally obstructed, it is then a race against the clock that commits to the désocclure as soon as possible (immediate transfer to perform a coronarography most often followed by a coronary angioplasty).

If the artery is only partially occluded, medications are given and further examinations will be made in the cardiology intensive care unit to determine the time to completion of coronary angiography. The earlier the treatment is started, the smaller the extent of the infarct and the better the short and long term prognosis.

                       In case of suspicion of infarction, it is necessary to contact in urgency the 911.

What to do?

As soon as the diagnosis of myocardial infarction is suspected, it is advisable to urgently contact the 911. “It is a vital urgency The more the early care, the better the prognosis It is in the first minutes that everything is played out, “recalls Dr. Boulé. Thanks to a few answers, the Samu’s regulating doctor will be able to evaluate the patient’s medical condition. A mobile team then comes to the site to urgently take care of the patient and take him to the nearest hospital.

distance treatment After a myocardial infarction:

Treatment after myocardial infarction (after treatment in the acute phase for revascularization) begins with close control of cardiovascular risk factors:

  • stopping smoking,
  • decreased overweight
  • decreased cholesterol,
  • strict balance of blood pressure or diabetes.

At the same time, medications are systematic: beta-blockers, aspirin, a statin to reduce the level of bad cholesterol (“LDL-cholesterol”), an inhibitor of the conversion enzyme, and a nitro derivative in spray to be taken. case of new symptoms: the education of the patient is essential. Finally, after the infarction, cardiac rehabilitation is essential to rehabilitate the heart with the effort.

Complications of a heart attack

The complications of myocardial infarction are twofold: those occurring at the time of infarction and those occurring at a distance, consequences of the cell death of part of the heart muscle. At the time of myocardial infarction, the most serious risk is the death of the subject. At the same time, cardiac arrhythmias may occur, cardiogenic shock … Among the distant complications, there are also disturbances of the cardiac rhythm, a risk of recurrence of the infarction, but especially a chronic cardiac insufficiency, main complication to the origin of the repercussion on the life of the individual.

Prevention: prevent myocardial infarction

In order to avoid a new myocardial infarction, the risk factors must be reduced:

  • maintain a balanced diet,
  • to practice a sporting activity,
  • no smoking,
  • avoid overweight,
  • take regular medications,
  • adhere to regular medical monitoring.

“In the vast majority of cases, even if it is apparently a brutal event, the infarct reveals a fouling of the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries), which was formed very gradually over several years, under the influence of cardiovascular risk factors, “explains Dr. Boulé before listing other risk factors: heredity, age, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol, etc.


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