A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Without blood and the oxygen it carries, part of the heart starts to die. The medical name for a heart attack is myocardial infarction, or MI.
A heart attack is often the result of coronary artery disease, in which fatty deposits called plaque (say "plak") build up inside the heart arteries. When plaque breaks open or ruptures, it can form a clot that blocks blood flow to the heart muscle.
Quick treatment that restores blood flow to the heart can help save lives.
Current as of: March 12, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.