Heart Attack

A heart attack, medically known as myocardial infarction, occurs when blood flow to the heart is limited. This is often caused by a build-up of fatty deposits (atherosclerosis). Even partial blockage can lead to heart muscle damage and potentially life-threatening complications.


Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Heart attack symptoms vary, ranging from mild to severe pain. Some occur suddenly, while others have warning signs days or weeks in advance. The following are common signs and symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Chest pain and discomfort
  • Pain that radiates to the arms, back, jaw, neck, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat, nausea, dizziness, or light-headedness

Additionally, there are some atypical symptoms, which women are more likely to experience, including:

  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pressure in the upper back
  • Heart ‘flutters’

If you think you might be having a heart attack, call 995 immediately. Early treatment can significantly improve your chances of a full recovery. Even if you are not sure, it is always better to be safe and seek medical attention.

Complications of a Heart Attack

A heart attack can lead to several complications, some of which can be life-threatening. These include:

  • Heart Failure – The heart is unable to pump enough blood, which can lead to sudden death.
  • Cardiogenic Shock – A more severe form of heart failure that requires prompt treatment.
  • Arrhythmias – Irregular heartbeats that affect the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.
  • Angina – Continued narrowing of coronary arteries after a heart attack can cause ongoing chest pain.
  • Heart Rupture – Areas of the heart muscle weakened by a heart attack can rupture and cause heart failure or cardiogenic shock.

Diagnosis and Tests for Heart Attack

The diagnosis of a heart attack is based on your symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. These may include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – This test records the electrical activity of your heart to identify if an area of your heart has been damaged.
  • Imaging Tests – These might include coronary angiography, an X-ray imaging of the arteries to help identify blockages, and other imaging tests like echocardiogram or MRI to visualise the heart and assess damage.
  • Blood Tests – Heart proteins slowly leak into your blood after heart damage. A blood test can detect these substances and help diagnose a heart attack.

Treatment for Heart Attack

Heart attack treatment focuses on immediate action to restore blood flow, minimize damage, and manage symptoms. This may involve a combination of:


  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG), also known as a heart bypass surgery, is a surgical procedure to improve blood flow to the heart muscle by grafting. It achieves this by attaching a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body to a blocked coronary artery. This creates a bypass around the blockage, allowing oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart muscle more effectively.
  • Coronary Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that improves blood flow to the heart by widening narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. A thin catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip is inserted into a blood vessel and guided to the blockage. The balloon is inflated, compressing plaque buildup, and widening the artery. In most cases, a metal stent is deployed simultaneously to provide lasting support and prevent the artery from re-narrowing.


  • Clot-dissolving medications: Dissolve blood clots blocking the artery.
  • Anti-clotting medications: Prevent future clot formation.
  • Anti-arrhythmic medications: Restore normal heart rhythm.
  • Pain medications: Provide pain relief and reduce heart workload.

Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise, and stress management is crucial for long-term heart health.

Recovery and Rehabilitation After a Heart Attack

Recovering from a heart attack involves both physical and emotional healing. The process can be challenging, but support can help you get back on track.

  • Physical and Emotional Recovery includes managing physical symptoms, improving strength and endurance, and dealing with emotions such as fear and depression.
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Programmes offer education, counselling, and exercise training to help patients recover and reduce the risk of future heart problems.

Remember, recovery is a personal journey with varying timeframes and experiences. Celebrate your individual achievements and set realistic goals based on your specific circumstances.

Reclaim your quality of life after a heart attack with our cardiac rehabilitation programme.Contact us at 6736 1068 for more details.

Heart Attack Prevention Measures

To reduce the risk of future heart problems, lifestyle changes and following medical advice are crucial. These include:

  • Regular Health Checkups and follow-ups to help detect and manage heart disease early.
  • Quit Smoking & Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet.
  • Manage Existing Health Conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
  • Practice Stress Management with techniques like yoga and meditation.
  • Monitor Risk Factors like blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
  • Take Medications as prescribed by your doctor.