Heart attack – symptoms, signs, complications and treatments

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is a critical medical event that occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart muscle becomes blocked.  This blockage can result in damage or destruction of part of the heart muscle.

Understanding the symptoms, signs, complications, and treatments associated with a heart attack is crucial for prompt intervention and improved outcomes.

Symptoms and Signs

Chest Pain or Discomfort

The most common symptom is a feeling of pressure, tightness, or pain in the chest that may radiate to the arm, neck, jaw, or back.

Shortness of Breath

Difficulty breathing or sudden shortness of breath can occur.

Nausea and Vomiting

Feeling nauseous or vomiting may accompany a heart attack.


Profuse sweating, often described as cold sweats, can occur.


Unexplained fatigue or sudden weakness may be experienced.

Dizziness or Fainting

Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or fainting may occur.



Irregular heartbeats may develop.

Heart Failure

The heart’s pumping function can be compromised.

Cardiogenic Shock

A severe condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

Valve Problems

Damage to the heart muscle can affect the heart valves.



Aspirin is often administered to reduce blood clotting.


These drugs help dissolve blood clots.

Antiplatelet and Anticoagulant Medications

These prevent further blood clot formation.


They reduce the workload on the heart and lower blood pressure.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

These help improve blood flow and decrease the heart’s workload.


To lower cholesterol levels.

Medical Procedures

Angioplasty and Stent Placement

A catheter is used to open blocked arteries and place a stent.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Redirecting blood flow around blocked arteries using blood vessels from other parts of the body.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Following a heart attack, lifestyle changes, cardiac rehabilitation, and medications are often prescribed to manage risk factors and enhance recovery.

Recognizing the symptoms, seeking immediate medical attention, and adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle are crucial steps in preventing and managing heart attacks.

Regular check-ups and consultations with healthcare professionals contribute to long-term heart health.


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