With a heart attack (Myocardial infarction), almost everyone has ever come into contact. Be it as a sufferer or as an acquaintance of a person affected by a heart attack. If our circulation engine lacks oxygen, it stutters or stops completely. This happens not so rare: over 220,000 people suffer a heart attack in Germany every year, about 50,000 cases are fatal.

Heart attack due to reduced oxygen supply

Like every other organ, the heart muscle needs oxygen for its activity. This is made available via the blood in the coronary vessels (coronary vessels). If these are narrowed, the muscle can not pump enough – which leads to limited ability to withstand stress and heart pain ( angina pectoris ).

The heart attack is almost the maximum expression of the reduced oxygen supply: At one point, the blood supply is suddenly interrupted so far that the supplied muscle (myocardium) is not only limited in his work, but even gets too little oxygen and nutrients and dies – a heart attack , often with sometimes life-threatening consequences.

If the patient survives the cardiac infarct, scar tissue and remains functionless.

Forms of heart attacks

Depending on which of the heart halves is affected by a heart attack, one differentiates the left heart attack and the Rechtsherzinfarkt. Depending on the affected area in a heart attack, there are still the anterior and posterior wall infarct.The right ventricle is rarely and then usually affected with the left ventricle in an infarct, which is related to the course of the three main coronary arteries.

If the necrosis (“death”) affects all tissue layers in a heart attack, it is called a transmural infarction, only the inner layer is damaged, from a layer infarct .

Harbingers of a heart attack

In the past, prolonged attacks of angina pectoris (decrescendo-angina) were considered a harbinger of a heart attack. By now, we know that heart muscle can be destroyed as well. Therefore, this form is now also attributed to the infarcts.

In contrast to the classical infarct, however, the typical changes in the ECG are not shown here – the elevation of the ST segment is therefore missing. Therefore, this form of infarction is also referred to as NSTEMI (non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction), the classic infarction, however, as STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction). The generic term for both forms is the acute coronary syndrome.


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