We have seen how atherosclerosis leads to the hardening of arteries and their gradual blockage, and how this blockage leads to Angina Pectoris and then Heart Attack (called Acute Myocardial Infraction or AMI)
What exactly happens when the heart is deprived of blood? If some blood still flows, the patient has chest pain and discomfort. This condition is called Unstable Angina. If the blood supply is totally stopped, the part of the heart, not served by blood supply owing to the blockages ‘dies’, that is, the heart tissue temporarily loses life and becomes non-functional. This is known as Heart Attack.
Remarkably, the brave little organ still keeps on pumping blood, but less efficiently. This period of time immediately offer a heart attack is crucial. If optimum treatment can be initiated within six to twelve hours of a heart attack, the portion of the heart deprived of blood and hence ‘dead’ can again function and become ‘live’ again. Hence, the urgency in initiating the treatment after a heart attack. ‘Time is Life’ in a Heart Attack, indeed.