All of us know about debilitating effects of a heart attack but do you know that a heart attack may come in different forms? One such form is STEMI, which can be expanded to ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.
This form of heart attack will occur when the heart’s blood supply has been cut off for an extended to period of time. However, there are several signs & symptoms of STEMI that can signal its occurrence so that you can take steps to take control of the situation, call medical help and reach hospital before the situation gets out of control.
An Insight On Heart Attack
In order to understand STEMI better, let us first understand what actually a heart attack is. A heart attack is nothing but a coronary thrombosis, a coronary occlusion or myocardial infarction, which actually takes place when one of the coronary arteries becomes incapable of supplying blood to the heart.
The condition in which blood is restricted and cannot flow through heart muscle is called myocardium because of which the muscles of the heart start to die. The situation calls for prompt medical treatment, in the absence of which, the results could even be the death of patient.
A heart attack sufferer experiences a number of symptoms including crushing chest pain, which often spreads to shoulder and neck. However, at times, heart attack symptoms are nothing more than mild discomfort in chest and shortness of breath. In the past, patients who showed heart attack symptoms were subjected to electrocardiogram. Only on detection of elevation in ST segment, a heart attack used to be confirmed.
Today, cardiologists advocate the presence of two different kinds of heart attacks
STEMI – short form for the ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction
NSTEMI – short form for the Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction
What You Must Know About STEMI?
STEMI is a type of heart attack in which patients present symptoms that are reminiscent of cutting off the supply to Cardiac Ischemia or Myocadium. In this case, the patient’s ECG displays a typical pattern of ST elevation. The diagnosis of STEMI is completely based on the clinical examination, symptoms and Electro Cardiograph. Since, the condition can be quite debilitating, doctors do not wait for blood tests results and initiate treatment immediately. Another reason which makes doctors take prompt action is that they do not want to risk large portion mycocardium damage.
STEMI treatment involves urgent administration of aspirin and immediate admission to OT in order to perform coronary angiogram. During this process, the goal is to the remove a percentage of blockage and to widen the coronary artery. The artery is kept dilated with the help of a stent. The goal of this treatment is to restore blood flow to the myocardium within 90 minutes.
As discussed above, recognition of STEMI symptoms is very important in order to seek medical help immediately. Following are some signs and symptoms that would help you figure out if you are going to have a STEMI heart attack.
Pain And Pressure
Pain and pressure are two symptoms that most patients who are going to have a STEMI heart attack are able to recognize. The chest pain is due to lack of oxygen and blood supply to angina pectoris. A patient first experiences a squeezing pressure, essentially towards the center of the chest.
Gradually, the pressure mounts and gets transitioned into atypical chest pain. The chest pain generally seems to be radiating from chest to shoulders and further to upper arm. Sometimes, the symptoms may even be felt towards neck, back and jaw.
Effects of STEMI can even be felt on the skin. There can be different reactions on different people. Some people have noticed that the blood supply in skin is affected and the skin starts to change its color to pale.
Others reported the body becoming diaphoretic, excess sweating even if it’s cold and inability of body to perform physical activity. Sometimes, the skin becomes very cool to touch, even if everything around is overheating.
Dyspnea or difficulty in breathing is a very common STEMI symptom. STEMI may make a person breathless and this breathing problem may even become severe. Often dyspnea is one of the initial signs of heart attack. It is one sign that may show up even days or weeks before the heart attack is going to occur.
Loss Of consciousness
This is another symptom that generally shows off due to cardiogenic shock or inadequate cerebral perfusion. It is a very severe symptom and may even result in death.
Other Possible Symptoms
There are a number of other symptoms that accompany STEMI heart attack. However it may vary from one person to another and the severity of the symptoms also depend on the patient’s unique situation. Some of symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fainting, dizziness, weakness, jugular vein distention or impending doom feeling.
These symptoms are generally caused due to massive flow of catecholamines from the patient’s sympathetic nervous system. This is a typical response of brain to hemodynamic abnormalities and pain.
Women are more prone to STEMI then men and STEMI atypical symptoms are generally reported more by women than their male counterparts. Some common symptoms of STEMI heart attack include weakness, shortness of breath and fatigue. In fact, in some women, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath and fatigue are reoccurring symptoms and may manifest for even a month before the cardiac arrest is going to take place.
On an average, ¼ of myocardial infarctions are silent. Patients do not observe chest pains or any other symptoms. These cases are only discovered through blood enzyme tests and ECG. Sometimes the condition is diagnosed at autopsy.
Those suffering with diabetes are more prone to STEMI heart attacks. Moreover, differences in autonomic neuropathy, pain threshold and psychological factors have also been noted in diabetic patients. Overall, it is very important to recognize Signs & Symptoms of STEMI heart attack as knowing them can save your life and also alert others of this condition.