Heart Attack

Heart attacks happen when the heart's blood supply is suddenly cut off, making immediate care critical.

Learn more about Heart Attack

Your heart muscle needs oxygen and nutrients to work as it should. A heart attack (your doctor may call it a myocardial infarction) usually occurs when blood flow to the heart is suddenly cut off. When this happens, the heart muscle is starved of oxygen-rich blood. In just a short period of time, part of the heart can be damaged or die. That’s why immediate care is critical—it can spare your heart and save your life. If you think you are having a heart attack, dial 9-1-1 immediately.

If you’ve had a heart attack, you know how scary it can be. And you’re not alone: about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack each year.

Unfortunately, once you’ve had a heart attack, your chance of having another one is higher. But, there are steps you can take to protect your heart. Taking prescribed medications, following an exercise program tailored to you, maintaining a healthy weight and being careful about what you eat can all help keep your heart healthy. Controlling your blood pressure and lowering cholesterol are also important steps to help prevent another heart attack.

No two heart attacks are the same. If you’ve already had a heart attack, listen to your body. A repeat attack may feel very different. Both men and women can feel the classic crushing chest pain or tightness (called unstable angina), but they often report very different symptoms. Some people might instinctively know it’s a heart attack, others have more subtle symptoms.

Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack and getting treated right away can save your life. Use this condition center to learn more.

Heart Attack News & Events

Sleep Deprivation Takes a Toll on Heart Health

Jul 28, 2016

Many studies show that a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on heart health, but few have determined why.

CardioSmart News

Treatment Lags for Heart Attack Patients With Prior Surgery

Jun 30, 2016
Patients with history of angioplasty or who had no previous interventions are treated faster, study finds.
CardioSmart News

Cardiogenic Shock Increases Risk for Heart Patients

Jun 30, 2016
Study shows higher risk of death or rehospitalization in first 60 days after discharge; gap narrows after one year.
CardioSmart News

Death Rate Rises Among Heart Attack Patients With Cardiogenic Shock

Jun 30, 2016
In-hospital outcomes not improving despite use of state-of-the-art measures.

"Silent" Heart Attacks Common in Middle-Aged Adults

Jun 23, 2016
Nearly half of all heart attacks go unnoticed.

Patients Shy Away From Sex After a Heart Attack, Study Finds

Jun 18, 2016
Despite being safe for most patients, many adults with heart disease avoid sexual activity.

Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Against Heart Attack and Stroke

Jun 15, 2016
Researchers highlight the importance of choosing wholesome foods rather than avoiding nutrient-poor foods.

Night Shifts Take a Toll on Heart Health

Jun 13, 2016
A study on U.S. female nurses finds that overnight work increases risk for heart attack.
CardioSmart News

New Decision-Making Tool Improves Patient Satisfaction with Chest Pain Treatment

May 25, 2016
A simple pamphlet helps clarify treatment options for people in the ER for chest pain.
CardioSmart News

New Decision Tool Helps Refine Blood Thinner Use in Stent Patients

May 24, 2016

DAPT score helps weigh the risks and benefits of continued dual antiplatelet therapy after stent implantation.

CardioSmart News

Recent Study Supports Statins to Prevent Heart Disease

May 24, 2016

A large international trial finds statins to be most effective for heart disease prevention.

CardioSmart News

Virtual Health Programs Could Improve Global Health

May 22, 2016
An online challenge promotes physical activity and weight loss in over 60 countries.
CardioSmart News

Stress Tests Less Useful for Assessing Heart Disease in Women than Men

May 22, 2016

Cardiac imaging proves more useful than stress tests for determining heart risk in women, finds study.

CardioSmart News

Striking Trends Show Heart Attack Patients are Getting Younger, More Obese

May 11, 2016

Experts emphasize addressing cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes earlier in life.

Heart Disease Burden Has Shifted to Southern U.S. States

May 04, 2016

The highest death rates from heart disease have shifted to the South since the 1970s.

CardioSmart News

Immediate Beta Blocker Treatment Fails to Improve Heart Attack Outcomes

Apr 23, 2016

Beta blockers fail to reduce permanent tissue damage after a heart attack, but may have other benefits.

CardioSmart News

Investigating the Link Between Depression and Heart Attack

Apr 23, 2016

Study highlights the need to improve diagnosis and treatment for depression in heart patients.

Heavy Drinking Heightens Immediate Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Mar 16, 2016
The protective benefits of alcohol only come with moderation.

Decline in Dementia Rates Over Past Three Decades

Mar 08, 2016

Study analyzed data on trends in older adults in the Framingham Heart Study.

Texting Programs Improve Medication Adherence in Patients with Chronic Disease

Feb 26, 2016
A recent study suggests that text messaging programs double the odds of medication adherence in adults with chronic disease.

Simple Tests Help Assess Risk for Heart Disease

Feb 09, 2016
Other health markers besides traditional risk factors can shed light on risk and treatment.

Improving Heart Attack Treatment and Prevention in Women

Feb 09, 2016

Experts address key heart attack differences in men and women.

Safety of Testosterone Therapy Remains Uncertain for Many Patients

Feb 02, 2016
Use of testosterone in older men and men living with heart disease remains controversial.

Gum Disease Linked to Increased Risk for Heart Attack

Jan 28, 2016

Inflammation associated with gum disease is likely to blame, but further research is needed to understand the relationship.

Too Little Exercise Remains a Prime Concern for Americans

Jan 18, 2016
Experts reaffirm that health benefits from exercise far outweigh risks.

Featured Video

Women often experience heart attack symptoms differently than men. It's important for a woman to be able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and react quickly by calling 911.

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Featured Video

It's important for men to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, remain calm and quickly call 911. Under no circumstances should men try to "tough it out."