Introduction: Heart attack
Heart attack: Heart attacks or "acute myocardial infarction" (AMI), are very common and also very deadly. The underlying cause of a heart attack is usually "coronary thrombosis", which is a blockage of the blood vessels of the heart. When the heart actually stops in a heart attack, this is called "cardiac arrest". The most common symptom is chest pain or chest discomfort, but in many cases even the patient is uncertain if they are having a heart attack. If there is any doubt, seek emergency help. However, many cases go undiagnosed even in the emergency department, and this diagnostic error makes AMI the single leading malpractice litigation-related condition. Because the typical profile for AMI in older men (usually over 45), AMI is often underdiagnosed in women or younger adults. In any age patients, AMI can have a variety of presentations, and diagnostic tests such as an EKG may still be normal. Misdiagnoses of AMI include gastrointestinal disorders (26% of misdiagnoses), musculoskeletal pain (21%), or $respiratory ailments$ such as pneumonia or bronchitis (6%).
Other the other hand, there are also less serious disorders that are mistakenly
believed to be heart attack.
A common example are people having a panic attack (anxiety attack)
and will rush to emergency in the belief they are dying from a heart attack.
Nevertheless, it is important not to take chances, and seek immediate
medical attention for any possible heart attack or similar symptoms.
Researching symptoms of Heart attack: Further information about the symptoms of Heart attack is available including a list of symptoms of Heart attack, other diseases that might have similar symptoms in differential diagnosis of Heart attack, or alternatively return to research other symptoms in the symptom center.
Misdiagnosis and Heart attack: Research more detailed information about misdiagnosis of Heart attack, failure to diagnose Heart attack, underlying causes of Heart attack (possibly misdiagnosed), or research misdiagnosis of other diseases
Statistics and Heart attack:
Various sources and calculations are available in statistics about Heart attack,
prevalence and incidence statistics for Heart attack,
and you can also research other medical statistics in our statistics center.
Last revision: April 9, 2003
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