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What happens to the heart when a heart attack?

If you have pain or discomfort in the chest, jaw, shoulder, arm or back and think you might have a heart attack, you should call, emergency room or physician.

If the serving phone (EMCC), sees this as a possible myocardial infarction - a heart attack, they will immediately send an ambulance to pick you up. Do not wait or try to see if it passes. Time is a critical factor. Do not attempt to drive to the hospital yourself or get someone to drive you.

Heart and circulation

The heart is a muscular pump responsible for pumping blood around to all the body's organs. The heart consists of four chambers: the right and left atrium (atrium) and right and left ventricle (LV).

Blood delivers oxygen to all tissues for which it circulates around the body. The oxygenated blood returns to the right atrium. From there, blood flows into the right ventricle, from which blood is pumped into the pulmonary circulation where it takes up oxygen again. The oxygen-rich blood returns to the left atrium. From there, blood flows into the left ventricle and is pumped under high pressure into the arteries (arteries) in the large circulation.

The high pressure generated by powerful contractions of the heart muscle, which is essential for the blood to flow to all parts of the body. The heart must be strong to survive this pump job.

The heart itself gets blood supply - and thus oxygen - through their own blood vessels that are located on the outside of the heart, called the coronary arteries (coronary arteries). The heart's strength is entirely dependent on the blood supply. Generally coronary arteries elastic and quite stretchy. The inner layer of these arteries are normally smooth, which allows blood to flow easily through the year without the formation of blood clots.

What happens to the heart when a heart attack?
A myocardial infarction (heart) due to sudden loss of blood and oxygen to parts of the heart. The usual cause of a heart attack is atherosclerosis ( atherosclerosis ) and cholesterol deposits (plaques) inside the coronary arteries. Once inside the coronary arteries become uneven because of plaque, may be formed small blood clots that completely or partially blocks the artery . The amount of blood which can then flow through the coronary artery is reduced drastically. Thus, it loses part of the heart muscle supplied by that artery, the oxygen supply. If the blood supply is cut off for long enough, that part of the heart muscle to die. If a larger portion of the heart muscle loses blood supply, it may cause serious problems due to significant weakening of the heart muscle. It can be during a heart attack also develop life-threatening heart arrhythmias (ventricular fibrillation).

Time is critical
To recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and immediately seek medical help, can actually be the difference between life and death. In the event of sudden cardiac arrest, the heart-lung block start within 3-4 minutes. It involves mouth-to-mouth breathing and cardiac massage (chest compression) to keep the circulation going. It can ensure that a small amount of oxygen supplied to the heart and brain.

Cardiac arrest requiring quick action. An ECG or defibrillator may show that the heart has stopped or that there is ventricular fibrillation. An electrical shock can then bring the heart back to normal rhythm. But often no such aids available. Then it is essential that cardiac resuscitation continues until paramedics arrive, or the patient is brought to the hospital.

Heart attack versus myocardial
A sudden blockage of a coronary artery will occur in most typical chest pain, cold sweats, malaise, nausea. Prompt treatment may help to prevent permanent damage to the heart muscle - a heart attack. The first phase of a myocardial infarction involves therefore an opportunity to prevent permanent damage, ie prevent it from becoming a heart attack. Therefore frequently used term heart attack on this first phase.

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