Recent Blog Articles
Prostate cancer in transgender women
Why eat lower on the seafood chain?
Can long COVID affect the gut?
When replenishing fluids, does milk beat water?
Safe, joyful movement for people of all weights
Slowing down racing thoughts
Are women turning to cannabis for menopause symptom relief?
3 ways to create community and counter loneliness
Helping children make friends: What parents can do
Can electrical brain stimulation boost attention, memory, and more?
An unusual type of heart attack
Ask the doctor
Image: © patrickheagney/Getty Images
Q. Is it possible to have a heart attack even if you don't have any blockages in your heart's arteries?
A. Yes, you can. Doctors refer to heart attacks without blocked arteries as MINOCA, which stands for myocardial infarction (that is, heart attack) with non-obstructive coronary arteries. When it occurs, people may experience typical heart attack symptoms, such as chest pressure or pain in the center of the chest (or the arms, jaw, neck, or stomach) and trouble breathing. They also have elevated blood levels of a protein called troponin, a marker of heart damage that is used to diagnose a heart attack. But the next test — a special x-ray of the heart's arteries called an angiogram — shows no evidence of a significant buildup of fatty plaque blocking any of the heart's arteries.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
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.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!