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Non-ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI)

Overview

Non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) is a type of [“heart attack”: link to new heart attack copy] involving partial blockage of one of the coronary arteries, causing reduced flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. For most patients, the heart damage caused by NSTEMI is less serious than from STEMI, although the experience is likely to be similarly frightening. Both STEMI and NSTEMI patients are said to have acute coronary syndrome.

  • Symptoms

    • Chest discomfort or pressure
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sweating excessively
  • Prevention

    • Committing to a heart healthy lifestyle offers the best way to reduce risk of heart attack.
      • Do not smoke.
      • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
      • Maintain a normal weight.
      • Stay active.
    • Get regular checkups and work with your physician on ways to reduce high blood cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, lose excess weight, reduce stress and avoid diabetes and other chronic diseases.
  • Risk Factor

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

    • Blood testing. A blood test that shows higher than normal levels of cardiac enzymes will confirm an NSTEMI has occurred. The damage to heart cells is typically less severe than with STEMI.
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG will show a clearly different pattern of electrical activity involving a patient’s heartbeat for NSTEMI than for STEMI. With NSTEMI, the ST segment is depressed rather than elevated and the readout shows no progression to Q wave.
  • Treatment

    • After a diagnosis of NSTEMI, cardiac catheterization may be used to examine the inside of the heart to determine what damage has occurred and the next-step treatment.
    • Various medications may be used to inhibit blood clot formation.
    • Coronary artery stent or coronary artery bypass grafting may follow the use of various medications to inhibit blood clot formation.
  • Follow-up Care

    • NSTEMI heart attack patients may be referred for cardiac rehabilitation after a hospital stay to improve recovery and reduce the need for repeat hospitalizations.