Read about heart attack medical facts: what is the definition of heart attack, what are the signs and symptoms, medical treatment & how to treat heart attack, information about the causes, diagnosis, and related heart attack diseases.

Definition: What is "heart attack"?


A heart attack usually happens when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through a coronary artery - a blood vessel that feeds blood to a part of the heart muscle. Interrupted blood flow to the heart can destroy a part of the heart muscle.

Symptoms & Signs

Common signs & symptoms of a heart attack include: pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes; pain extending beyond the chest to the shoulder, arm, back, or even to the teeth & jaw; increasing episodes of chest pain; prolonged pain in the upper abdomen; shortness of breath; sweating; impending sense of doom; fainting; & nausea & vomiting.

Treatment: How to Treat "heart attack"?

Medications given to treat a heart attack include: aspirin, thrombolytics, superaspirins, other blood thinning medications, pain relievers, nitroglycerin, beta blockers & cholesterol-lowering medications.


A heart attack occurs when one or more of the arteries supplying the heart with oxygen-rich blood become blocked. These arteries are called coronary arteries & encircle the heart like a crown. Over time, a coronary artery narrows from the buildup of cholesterol. This buildup - collectively known as plaques - in arteries throughout the body is referred to as atherosclerosis.


The tests the doctors order will help determine whether your signs & symptoms, such as chest pain, signal a heart attack or another condition. These tests include electrocardiogram & blood tests.

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