This type of heart attack can cause scarring of the heart muscle.

That it’s a silent heart attack

A silent heart attack, which affects one in five people with a heart attack, is called a silent heart attack because it has no symptoms or very mild symptoms that you hardly feel.

Acute myocardial infarction occurs when an area of the heart muscle dies.

That it's a silent heart attack

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This necrosis is caused by lack of blood supply due to spasm or blockage of the coronary arteries and can affect the layer below the endocardium (subendocardium) or the entire myocardium.

When an acute silent myocardial infarction occurs, even if it goes unnoticed, it can cause scarring in the myocardium, the thickest layer of the heart, which is made up of heart muscle cells (myocytes). Almost all heart attacks occur in the left ventricle due to its increased oxygen demand and wall thickness, 15% affect both ventricles and only 3% affect the right ventricle.

Experts point out that 70% of patients who die of sudden sudden death had this type of scarring on the heart.

Symptoms of silent infarction

Although the most common symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain, a common symptom with angina, and dyspnea or fatigue a few days earlier, they may not always manifest this way. It is common, in retrospect, to recall a cut of digestion or a dizziness.  It’s what’s known as a silent acute myocardial infarction.

This type of coronary artery disease is more difficult to detect as it is possible to produce without the symptoms that can alert us that we are suffering a heart attack.

Diagnosis of silent heart attack

The electrocardiogram (ECG) and some special blood tests that measure heart enzyme levels are diagnostic tests that help detect an acute myocardial infarction.

The ECG will show the size and location of the heart muscle injury. Cardiac enzymes are inside the heart cells that are released into the blood at death. Some appear a few hours later and others after a few days. Your presence confirms the diagnosis of myocardial infarction.

Although this type of heart attack is traditionally diagnosed some time later by an electrocardiogram, a recent study suggests that routine ECGs only detect a low percentage of silent heart attacks.

Obviously, they are easier to detect larger heart attacks that leave a greater alteration of the electrocardiogram and more difficult to diagnose those of lesser affectation that may go unnoticed.

The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted among more than 1,800 people aged 45 to 84, showed that 8% of patients had heart attack scars, of which 78% had not previously been detected.

The study, led by David A. Bluemke of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering in Bethesda, Maryland, examined the prevalence of myocardial scar using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging capable of detecting small lesions.

Complications of acute myocardial infarction

The main complications of a heart attack are arrhythmias, heart failure, cardiogenic shock, pericarditis and even sudden death. But survival after a heart attack is getting higher every day, due to new advances in medicine.

A heart attack is a medical emergency so it is very important to go to a medical center at the first symptoms or when there is suspicion of heart attack by family history or associated diseases (diabetes, hypertension etc.).

The good news is that many heart attacks can be prevented. To do this, cardiologists advise a healthy lifestyle that includes daily physical activity and a balanced and varied diet, low in saturated fat, sugars and salt and avoid obesity.

Eliminate risk factors such as smoking, control blood cholesterol levels, monitor high blood pressure, and be strict with diabetes. Having a routine health checkup is especially advisable if you have a stressful job or a family history of vascular problems.

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