Genetics

Genetic characteristics of peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)—a narrowing of the arteries serving the legs and feet —affects as many as 12 million Americans and 200 million people worldwide. It is a manifestation of clogged arteries, but until now, ...

Cardiology

New approach to reducing damage after a heart attack

Researchers in the Medical Sciences Division have established a key cause of micro blood vessels constricting during surgery to reopen a blocked artery, and identified a potential therapeutic target to block the mechanism ...

Oncology & Cancer

Broken heart syndrome linked with cancer

One in six people with broken heart syndrome had cancer and they were less likely to survive for five years after it occurred, according to new international research in Journal of the American Heart Association.

Cardiology

Chest X-rays contain information that can be harvested with AI

The most frequently performed imaging exam in medicine "the chest X-ray" holds 'hidden' prognostic information that can be harvested with artificial intelligence (AI), according to a study by scientists at Massachusetts General ...

Cardiology

Treating stroke patients just 15 minutes earlier can save lives

Initiating stroke treatment just 15 minutes faster can save lives and prevent disability, according to a new UCLA-led study, published today in JAMA. The research also determined that busier hospitals—those that treat more ...

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Myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die. This is most commonly due to occlusion (blockage) of a coronary artery following the rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, which is an unstable collection of lipids (cholesterol and fatty acids) and white blood cells (especially macrophages) in the wall of an artery. The resulting ischemia (restriction in blood supply) and ensuing oxygen shortage, if left untreated for a sufficient period of time, can cause damage or death (infarction) of heart muscle tissue (myocardium).

Classical symptoms of acute myocardial infarction include sudden chest pain (typically radiating to the left arm or left side of the neck), shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, sweating, and anxiety (often described as a sense of impending doom). Women may experience fewer typical symptoms than men, most commonly shortness of breath, weakness, a feeling of indigestion, and fatigue. Approximately one-quarter of all myocardial infarctions are "silent", that is without chest pain or other symptoms.

Among the diagnostic tests available to detect heart muscle damage are an electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiography, cardiac MRI and various blood tests. The most often used blood markers are the creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) fraction and the troponin levels. Immediate treatment for suspected acute myocardial infarction includes oxygen, aspirin, and sublingual nitroglycerin.

Most cases of STEMI (ST elevation MI) are treated with thrombolysis or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). NSTEMI (non-ST elevation MI) should be managed with medication, although PCI is often performed during hospital admission. In people who have multiple blockages and who are relatively stable, or in a few emergency cases, bypass surgery may be an option, especially in diabetics.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide. Important risk factors are previous cardiovascular disease, older age, tobacco smoking, high blood levels of certain lipids (triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein) and low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, excessive alcohol consumption, the abuse of certain drugs (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and chronic high stress levels.

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