Dr Simon Kennon MB ChB, FRCP, MD Consultant Cardiologist

Heart Attack

This occurs when one of the arteries supplying blood to the heart becomes blocked, usually due to a combination of cholesterol build up and blood clots. The area of muscle supplied by the artery then starts to die, leading to impaired heart function and sometimes death. The impaired heart function can lead to ‘heart failure’ (see below)

Symptoms

these are generally similar to angina but more severe and long lasting and do ot settle with rest. Sometimes, however, chest pain can be mild and can be mistaken for indigestion; and in some cases, no pain is experienced.

Treatment

heart attacks are treated with emergency percutaneous coronary intervention. In addition, after the blood supply to the heart has been restored, preventative strategies are required to prevent further heart attacks. If the heart function is significantly damaged by the heart attack then ‘heart failure treatment’ tablets may be required.