Myocardial Infarction

Janna: Code Blue! Code Blue! [A heart stopped beating] Doctors and nurses rushing to the patient’s room. Chest compressions. Oxygen masks. Rounding in the ICU and ER, MI was one of the top concerns. Chest pain patients often managed to miss the long ER lines. So, what is MI? Here are a few basics.

Jargon: Myocardial Infarction (MI)

AKA: Heart Attack

An MI is when the muscle tissue of the heart necrotizes (dies) or is damaged due to a lack of oxygen. The coronary arteries can harden or become blocked due to plaque buildup, subsequently reducing the blood supply to the heart muscles.


  • Chest pain that can radiate to the left arm and other areas
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other: Diaphoresis (sweating), Nausea, Dizziness and fainting


Before the hospital

  • Immediately Call 911
  • Relax the patient
  • MONA
    • M=morphine to relieve pain
    • O=oxygen to keep the patient as relaxed as possible
    • N=nitrates to dilate the coronary vessels
    • A=aspirin has anti-platelet aggregation (can help reduce the blockage)
  • CPR (if you are trained) if the patient becomes goes into cardiac arrest (the heart stops)

At the hospital– Doctors may prescribe:

  • Antiplatelets- reduce clot formation
  • Thromblytic therapy- “clot busters”
  • Beta blockers- decrease heart’s workload
  • ACE inhibitors- lower blood pressure and reduce strain on your heart
  • Anticoagulants- “blood thinners”

and/or opt to do procedures:

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)- a healthy artery or vein from your body is connected, or grafted, to the blocked coronary artery so blood can go around the blocked portion (a new path)
  • Angioplasty-a nonsurgical technique for opening a blocked artery, kept open with a stent (tube)


  • Avoid smoking and tobacco
  • Exercise daily
  • Watch your diet: Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Reduce fat, cholesterol and salt
  • Maintain a healthy weight- A good reference is waist circumference. Men are overweight if they measure 40+ inches and women if they measure 35+ inches.
  • Get regular health screenings



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