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ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI)


ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is a type of [“heart attack”: link to new heart attack content] caused by total blockage of one of the coronary arteries that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Acute STEMI is a life-threatening medical emergency also known as sudden cardiac arrest or massive heart attack.

  • Symptoms

    • Anxiety
    • Changes in mental state
    • Chest pain
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Palpitations
    • Shortness of breath
    • Weakness or fatigue
  • Prevention

    • Be physically active every day.
    • Commitment to a heart-healthy lifestyle offers the best way to reduce risk of heart attack.
    • Do not smoke.
    • Follow a nutrient-rich, low-fat diet and avoid sweets, sweetened beverages and red meat.
    • Get regular checkups and work with your physician to reduce high blood cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, lose excess weight, reduce stress and avoid chronic diseases.
    • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Risk Factors

    • Diabetes
    • Family history of coronary artery disease
    • High cholesterol
    • Hypertension
    • Smoking
  • Diagnosis

    • Electrocardiogram (ECG). Measures of cardiac electrical activity can signal the need for immediate treatment.
    • Blood testing. Cardiac enzymes in the blood can confirm a heart attack has occurred and help determine the extent of damage.
    • Cardiac catheterization. This procedure involves threading a catheter tube from a blood vessel in the arm, groin or neck to the heart and using it to inject dye into the blood vessels for enhanced visibility on X-rays called angiograms
  • Treatment

    • Coronary angioplasty. If the coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked, a balloon may be positioned to open the artery and restore blood flow.
    • Coronary artery stent. In this procedure, a tiny coil is expanded inside the blocked artery to restore blood flow. The coil is left in place to keep the artery open.
    • Coronary artery bypass. During bypass surgery, a vein — usually taken from the patient’s leg or chest — is grafted above and below the blocked section of artery to route blood round the obstruction.
    • Fibrinolytic therapy. This therapy involves the infusion of a medication to dissolve the blood clot and restore blood flow; it is used when angioplasty or stenting is not possible due to lack of time.
  • Follow-up Care

    • Medications may include antithrombin/antiplatelet therapy, beta-blockers, ACE-inhibitors and cholesterol-lowering agents.
    • After hospitalization, patients are typically referred to cardiac rehabilitation to improve recovery and reduce the need for repeat hospitalizations.