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Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
- By Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
What Is It?
A heart attack occurs when one of the heart's coronary arteries is blocked suddenly or has extremely slow blood flow. A heart attack also is called a myocardial infarction.
The usual cause of sudden blockage in a coronary artery is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus). The blood clot typically forms inside a coronary artery that already has been narrowed by atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits (plaques) build up along the inside walls of blood vessels.
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About the Author
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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