Acute myocardial infarction

"The heart attack is recognized by the sudden appearance of intense pain in the chest".


Acute myocardial infarction is an acute coronary syndrome. It is characterized by the sudden appearance of a picture of ischemic suffering (lack of irrigation) to a part of the heart muscle produced by the acute and total obstruction of one of the coronary arteries that feed it.

Myocardial infarction is the leading cause of death for men and women worldwide.

The reason is that the main risk of acute myocardial infarction is in the out-of-hospital phase (i.e., before admission to the hospital): mortality in this phase exceeds 40%. Once admitted to the hospital, if done in good time (ideally within four hours), modern treatments (angioplasty, thrombolysis) allow a satisfactory recovery from the infarction and complications are relatively rare.

The Clinic has the only cardiovascular checkup that incorporates the highest diagnostic imaging technology to accurately quantify your cardiovascular risk

Thanks to the exclusive dedication of our professionals, they allow us to perform the ICAP Checkup in less than 48 hours with a high precision diagnosis.

Imagen del icono de la consulta de Segunda Opinión. Clínica Universidad de Navarra

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Our professionals will provide you with a medical evaluation without you having to leave your home.

What are the symptoms of my heart attack?

The infarct is recognized by the sudden appearance of the characteristic symptoms: intense pain in the chest, in the precordial area (where the tie), sensation of general malaise, dizziness, nausea and sweating. The pain can extend to the left arm, jaw, shoulder, back or neck.

It should be noted that approximately half of the heart attacks appear without previous symptoms, that is, the heart attack is the first manifestation of ischemic heart disease.

Other times, however, a few months before having the heart attack, the patient presents precordial discomfort, a feeling of unease, tiredness, greater irritability, etc., or even sometimes stomach discomfort, which causes the symptoms of the heart attack to be confused with those coming from other organs.

<p>Imagen preview del infogr&aacute;fico sobre el infarto agudo de miocardio&nbsp;</p>

Learn what acute myocardial infarction is and how it is treated (available in spanish)

The most common symptoms are:

  • Intense pain in the chest.
  • General discomfort.
  • Dizziness.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have an acute myocardial infarction

What is the prognosis after a heart attack?

Most patients who suffer an acute myocardial infarction recover quickly and quickly enough to lead a virtually normal life.

The few who do not make it can also undergo percutaneous revascularization procedures or be operated on, which makes for very acceptable recoveries.

The only difference between the patient who has had a heart attack and the one who has not is that one must be much stricter in terms of quitting smoking, practicing regular physical exercise, eating properly (including restricting animal fats and maintaining the correct weight) and controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

Who can have a heart attack?

A large number of heart attacks occur in people who have so-called risk factors.

These are, apart from a certain family predisposition and age, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and alterations in blood fats (cholesterol).

How is a heart attack diagnosed?

Myocardial infarction is recognized by the sudden appearance of the characteristic symptoms: intense pain in the chest, in the precordial area (where the tie), general feeling of malaise, dizziness, nausea and sweating. The pain can extend to the left arm, jaw, shoulder, back or neck.

If you have unusual chest pain (more severe than typical angina) that lasts 5 minutes or more, you should see a doctor immediately.

An electrocardiogram shows typical evolutionary alterations, and a blood test evaluates the elevated levels of cardiac enzymes in the blood. A chest x-ray should also be performed to see if the heart is enlarged or if there is fluid in the lungs.

How is heart attack treated?

Some treatments are started immediately if a heart attack is suspected, even before the diagnosis is confirmed.

  • Oxygen.
  • Aspirin, to prevent further blood clot formation.
  • Nitroglycerin, to decrease the work of the heart and improve blood flow through the coronary arteries.
  • Several different types of medicines can be used to treat a heart attack.

Thrombolytics: These are used to dissolve clots that are blocking the coronary arteries.

Beta-blockers: They decrease the work the heart has to do and serve to prevent other heart attacks.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors: Lower blood pressure and decrease the workload on the heart.

Anticoagulants: They thin the blood and prevent clots from forming in the arteries.

Anti-platelet agents: Prevent platelets from clumping together and forming unwanted clots.

There are different techniques of percutaneous interventions that are performed depending on the characteristics of the patient, degree and location of the obstruction, etc.

  • Balloon angioplasty: can be used to open coronary arteries that are blocked by a clot.
  • Coronary Bypass: A section of a vein or artery from another part of the body is taken and sewn to the coronary artery above and below the narrowed or blocked area.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Cardiology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Cardiology of the Clinica Universidad de Navarra is a center of reference in different diagnostic techniques and coronary treatments.

We have been the first center in Europe to place a pacemaker by means of a catheterization without the need to open the chest, for cases of severe heart failure.

The Cardiology Department of the Clinic collaborates with the Radiology and Cardiac Surgery Departments to achieve a quick and precise diagnosis of the patient.

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Specialized Arrhythmia Unit of national reference.
  • Unit of Hemodynamics and Interventionist Cardiology equipped with the best technology.
  • Cardiac Imaging Unit to achieve the highest diagnostic accuracy.

Our team of professionals

Cardiovascular Checkup


A new approach to cardiovascular risk

The only checkup that incorporates the latest diagnostic imaging technology to accurately quantify your risk of stroke and myocardial infarction.

Thanks to the exclusive dedication of our professionals, we are able to perform the ICAP checkup in less than 48 hours with a highly accurate diagnosis.