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

Phone-Based Support Helps Heart Patients with Depression

Jun 12, 2014
Researchers develop simple, cost-effective treatment for heart patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

Relief for Diabetic Patients with Chest Pain

Jun 11, 2014
Drug used to treat chest pain improves quality of life for diabetic patients with chronic angina.

Spirit of the Heart in South Bronx, NY

Jun 07, 2014
Spirit of the Heart events offer heart disease screening and events in underserved communities.

Web-Based Program Helps Patients Improve Heart Health

Jun 05, 2014
Not only do Web-based programs help patients lower risk for heart disease, they’re more affordable than traditional counseling, according to study.

Psychiatric Medications May Increase Heart Attack Risk

Jun 04, 2014
Researchers urge further education on drug safety after finding link between antipsychotic medications and heart attack risk.

Worldwide Obesity Rates 'Startling'

May 30, 2014
Major study finds obesity rates have increased dramatically in all corners of the world over last three decades.

NIH Engages Women in Medical Research

May 29, 2014
The National Institutes of Health has unveiled new policies that will engage women in all phases of medical research.

Reducing Salt Intake, Nationwide

May 22, 2014
Experts identify ways to reduce salt consumption and improve heart health in the United States.

'Exercise Snacking': The Latest Health Trend?

May 14, 2014
Adding small bursts of exercise before meals could bring big health benefits, finds study.

Growing Use of ICDs to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death

May 09, 2014
More patients may be eligible to receive implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, according to a scientific statement released by the American College of Cardiology Foundation and American Heart Association.

Finding Your Energy Balance

Apr 25, 2014
When it comes to our well-being, it's important to consider how much we put into our bodies and what we need in order to stay healthy.

Some Physical Activity is Better Than None

Apr 24, 2014
Adults engaging in any level of regular physical activity have lower risk of death compared to those who get no exercise, according to research.
CardioSmart News

Stumbling Block in Attempt to Reduce Risk of Complications from Surgery

Apr 15, 2014
Aspirin and blood-pressure lowering medication fail to improve outcomes in surgical patients at risk for heart disease.
CardioSmart News

Diabetes Drug Ruled Out as Heart Attack Treatment

Apr 14, 2014
A common diabetes drug, metformin, failed to improve outcomes for non-diabetic patients after a heart attack.

Heart Attack Survival Rates Poorest in the South

Apr 04, 2014
Southerners more likely to die from heart attack than any other U.S. region, according to a recent study.

Fruits and Vegetables Help Lower Heart Attack Risk Later in Life

Mar 29, 2014
Women who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables during their 20s have healthier arteries later in life, finds study.

Secondhand Smoke Causes Permanent Damage to Children's Arteries

Mar 13, 2014
Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood ages arteries later in life, study finds.

Losing Temper Increases Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Mar 11, 2014
Outbursts of anger may trigger heart attack or stroke within two hours, according to review of studies.

Losing a Loved One Can Increase Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

Mar 07, 2014

While losing a spouse doubles 30-day risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study, the risk is still very low.

Sudden Death in College Athletes: Cause for Concern?

Feb 27, 2014
Ten-year study finds risk of sudden cardiac death among college athletes is actually lower than in the general population.

Improving America's Health through Active Transportation

Feb 26, 2014
Partners unite to promote active transportation across the country with new platform called “Safe Routes to Everywhere.”

Devices in Public Places Restart Hearts

Feb 21, 2014
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can help minimally trained bystanders save persons experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Safety Concerns About Prescription Weight Loss Pills

Feb 20, 2014
Experts are concerned about the safety of two weight loss pills recently approved for use in the United States.

CVS to Stop Selling Cigarettes; Will Others Follow?

Feb 19, 2014
As CVS vows to eliminate cigarette and tobacco sales over the next year, experts hope other pharmacies will follow their lead to help reduce smoking rates nationwide.

Improving Medication Adherence in Heart Attack Patients

Feb 11, 2014
New support program helps patients adhere to a personalized treatment plan following a heart attack.

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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Upcoming Events

Managing Your Heart Health: Cholesterol event in Atlanta

Emory University (Winship Ballroom)
Atlanta, GA 30322
Oct 30, 2015, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

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."