Heart Attacks Explained

Published 12/05/06


This video animation demonstrates how a heart attack can happen. Heart attack or myocardial infarction is caused due to coronary artery blockage.


Heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is caused due to coronary artery blockage. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels which supply the heart with oxygen and nutrition. Over time the inside of these arteries develop fibro-fatty plaques of different sizes. These plaques are made of cholesterol and other substances floating through the bloodstream, such as inflammatory cells, proteins, and calcium. Many of the plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft on the inside. The hard surface can crack or tear, exposing the soft, fatty inside. When this happens, platelets come to the area and blood clots form around the plaque. The artery narrows further, and in turn there less room for blood to flow through the arteries. Finally, this results in the occlusion of the coronary arteries, resulting in the death of the surrounding heart muscle. The patient experiences tightness, heaviness, or constriction in the chest.

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