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What is the difference between STEMI and non-STEMI heart attacks?

A STEMI heart attack is a serious form of heart attack. STEMI is the abbreviation for an “ST-elevation myocardial infarction.” A STEMI heart attack is identified by a test called an electrocardiogram that records the electrical activity of your heart. If this test shows something called “ST-elevation,” you are having a STEMI heart attack. This type of heart attack is typically caused by complete obstruction of a coronary artery—an artery that delivers blood to the heart. A STEMI needs to be recognized quickly and is best treated by emergency angioplasty and stenting.

Non-STEMI is a shorthand medical term for “non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction.” These types of heart attacks are often abbreviated as “NSTEMI.” While they may not be as serious as the STEMI heart attack, they are still heart attacks and result in heart muscle death. A non-STEMI heart attack does not show an elevated ST segment on an electrocardiogram. A NSTEMI should also be recognized quickly and is best treated by medications and early angioplasty and stenting.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.