During a heart attack, a blood clot blocks the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart creating an arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat) that causes a decrease in the pumping function of the heart. If not treated quickly, the heart muscle begins to die. The result may be death or severe, long-lasting problems.
Warning signs for a heart attack include:
- Discomfort, pain or pressure in the chest, arms (especially the left arm), back, neck , jaw or stomach
- Shortness of breath, weakness or anxiety
- Feeling of heartburn
- Flu-like symptoms
- Heart palpitations
Treatment is most effective within the first 60 minutes. If someone shows signs of a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
Heart attacks occur most often as a result of a condition called coronary artery disease.