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A myocardial infarction (MI) is another name for a heart attack. Your heart is always working to pump blood to your entire body. Blood carries oxygen and other nutrients that your body needs to do its work. Your heart needs a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood for itself as well. The blood vessels that supply blood to your heart muscle are called coronary arteries. Sometimes one or more of the coronary arteries becomes too narrowed or completely blocked, or it spasms (tightens). This causes part of the heart muscle to not get enough of the oxygen-rich blood it needs. If the muscle goes too long without oxygen, it starts to die. This is known as a myocardial infarction.
An acute myocardial infarction is a heart attack. It is a medical emergency. When you are having an acute myocardial infarction, an artery in your heart is blocked and oxygen cannot get to the heart muscle. A part of the heart muscle dies. If you feel you are having a heart attack, you should call 911 immediately.
An acute myocardial infarction is a heart attack usually where the blood flow going down the arteries feeding the heart (coronary arteries) is stopped. When someone suffers an acute myocardial infarction, the goal is to get them to the hospital as fast as possible and to open up the arteries feeding their heart so that they can stop the heart attack and limit the amount of damage to the heart. This is considered a medical emergency and hospitals that do not have cath labs, "clot busters" can be used to try to restart the blood flow down the blocked artery.
Acute myocardial infarctions, also known as heart attacks, are the leading cause of death for those over age 40. There are 1.1 million heart attacks each year in the United States alone. Roughly half of those are fatal.
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