Heart attacks come in all kinds, sizes
A guide to STEMI, Q waves, and other heart-attack terms.
The term "heart attack" does an excellent job conveying the severity of an all-too-common event. But it hides a remarkable diversity of medical emergencies that differ in cause, geography, consequences, and initial treatment.
We use "heart attack" as shorthand for myocardial infarction (MI) — an interruption of blood flow to part of the heart muscle that damages or destroys a swath of heart cells. Here is a guide to the names that doctors give to different types of heart attacks.