Anatomy Of The Heart In Order Of Blood Flow Anatomy of a Heart Attack

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Anatomy of a Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked due to some type of blockage. If blood flow to the heart is not restored quickly, the part of the heart muscle that lacks blood will deteriorate from lack of oxygen and begin to die.

Heart attack is the leading killer of both men and women in the United States. Today, fortunately, there are many treatments for heart attacks that can save lives and prevent disability. Treatment is most effective if started within an hour of the onset of symptoms. It is important to dial 911 immediately after experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or if a person suspects a heart attack.

Heart attacks often occur as a result of a condition known as coronary artery disease, or CAD. In CAD, fatty substances known as plaque build up on the walls of the coronary arteries over many years. Coronary arteries are the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Eventually, the plaque-filled area may burst. This causes a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. When and if a clot grows large enough, it can completely or partially block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the part of the heart muscle fed by that particular artery.

In a heart attack, if the blockage in the coronary artery is not treated early, the heart muscle begins to die. It is replaced by scar tissue. Damage to the heart may not be obvious but can cause serious or long-lasting problems.

Some of the complications associated with a heart attack include heart failure and life-threatening arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood through the body. Ventricular fibrillation is a serious arrhythmia that can lead to death if not treated quickly. In most cases, ventricular fibrillation is treated with an internal defibrillator that works similar to a pacemaker.

Acting quickly at the first signs of a heart attack can save a person’s life and limit the damage to the person’s heart. It is most effective when treatment is started within 1 hour of the onset of symptoms.

The most common signs and symptoms of a heart attack are:

– Chest discomfort or pain

– Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach

– Shortness of breath

– Nausea, vomiting, headache or fainting and cold sweat

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