Heart Attack

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a heart attack?

What are symptoms of a heart attack?

Can I have a heart attack without knowing it?

What causes a heart attack?

Does the absence of pain during a heart attack indicate less damage to the heart?

What are the treatments for a heart attack?

What are the tests for heart disease?

Is there a screening test for heart disease?

What is a heart attack?

Heart Attack - Damage to the heart caused by a blockage in one of the arteries that supplies the heart muscle. Blockage of one of these arteries "coronary arteries" reduces the blood flow to the heart muscle and can cause chest pain or "angina". When a blood clot forms at the site of a blockage it can completey block the flow of blood to the portion of the heart muscle it supplies and this is what causes an actual heart attack or "myocardial infarction". If blood flow i s not restored there is irreversible damage to the heart mucle. Therefore it is imperative that a heart attack is treated as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there is excellent medical and catheter based therapies to treat heart attacks. Therefore, it is critical to call 911 at the earliest sign of a heart attack. Back to Top

What are symptoms of a heart attack?

  • Uncomfortable pressure, heaviness, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes.
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms. The pain may be mild to intense. It may feel like pressure, tightness, burning or a heavy weight. It may be located in the chest, upper abdomen, neck, jaw or insided arms or shoulders.
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
  • Anxiety, nervousness and/or cold sweaty skin.
  • Paleness or Pallor.
  • Increased or irregular heart rate.
  • Feeling of impending doom.

**Not all of these symptoms occur in every heart attack. Sometimes they go away and return. IF SOME OCCUR GET HELP FAST!
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Can I have a heart attack without knowing it?

Yes, the Nation's longest-running heart study suggests that about one heart attack in four produces no symptoms, or at least none that the victim associates with a heart problem. These so called "silent heart attacks" however are only the most extreme cases of a still more prevalent condition called "silent ischemea", a chronic shortage of oxygen and nutrient bearing blood to a portion of the heart. Back to Top

What causes a heart attack?

The cause of a heart attack, silent or otherwise is almost always atherosclerosis, which is the progressive narrowing of the heart's arteries from accumulations of cholesterol plaque. This plaque ruptures and a clot or thrombus forms at the site of injury. This plaque and clot completely obstruct the flow of blood to the heart muscle the coronary artery supplies. Back to Top

Does the absence of pain during a heart attack indicate less damage to the heart?

No, the absence of pain does not mean the absence of damage. The heart has a built-in reserve capacity, allowing it to suffer a certain amount of scarring and weakening from a heart attack and continue to meet the body's needs. But another heart attack even a mild to moderate one, may prove fatal because the reserve capacity is no longer there. Back to Top

What are the treatments for a heart attack?

  • Medical
  • PTCA
  • CABBG Back to Top

What are the tests for heart disease?

  1. Stress testing which included evaluation during excercise or with medication. At times special scans are taken to assist in the interpretation of the stress test.
  2. Echocardiography: Sonogram of the heart to assess the values of the heart as well as the heart muscle.

Is there a screening test for heart disease?

Stress Testing
High Speed CT

The most important intervention for heart disease is prevention & modification if CAD is already present Therefore risk factors that need to be addressed are diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking cessation.

Our Heart Attack Specialists

NYU Langone Medical Center
550 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016
1-877-4-NYUCVI (698284)

Cardiac Catherization

Cardiac Electrophysiology/Heart Rhythm Center

James Slater, M.D.
Director, Cardiac Catherization Laboratory / Director, Adult Structural Heart Disease Program
Associate Professor / Department of Medicine (Cardiology)

Larry A. Chinitz, M.D.
Director,
Cardiac Electrophysiology/The Heart Rhythm Center

Michael Attubato, M.D.
Associate Director of Invasive Cardiology / Associate Director, Interventional Cardiology Residency Program

Neil E. Bernstein, M.D.
Assistant Director,
The Heart Rhythm Center

Anvar Babaev, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor / Departments of Medicine (Cardiology)

Douglas S. Holmes, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Frederick Feit, M.D.
Associate Professor / Department of Medicine (Cardiology)

Anthony Aizer, M.D.
Instructor of Medicine

Norma Keller, M.D.
Assistant Professor / Department of Medicine (Cardiology)

Scott Bernstein, M.D.
Instructor of Medicine

Ivan Pena-Sing, M.D.
Assistant Professor / Department of Medicine (Cardiology)

 

Sabrina Wilbur, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

 

 

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