Myocardial Infarction





Acute myocardial infarction, referred to as heart attack in layman’s term, is a cardiac condition wherein there is damage to or death of the cardiac muscle due to an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the area. This event occurs when there is a blockage in one of the coronary arteries that supply the heart. The blockage is usually caused by a buildup of cholesterol plaques on the blood vessel walls or a blood clot.

Worldwide, the average annual incidence of myocardial infarction is estimated at 600 cases per 100,000 for males, and 200 cases per 100,000 for females. These figures are for individuals who are between the ages 30 to 69 years. The incidence for this condition increases directly proportional with age.



A blood clot (thrombosis) that forms someplace inside the coronary artery or one of the smaller blood vessels that carry blood to the heart is the most common reason for the occurrence of a myocardial infarction. These blood clots form a blockage on the blood vessel which prevents the oxygen-laden blood from reaching the cells of the heart.

Another reason for the restriction in oxygenated blood supply to the heart tissue (ischemia) is the narrowing of blood vessels due to the formation and buildup of plaque (bad cholesterol) on the artery walls, usually referred to as atherosclerosis.

Myocardial infarctions can occur at any time of the day, but a number of cases customarily take place in the morning, between 4 AM and 10 AM. This is probably because the adrenaline levels in the blood become increased during the morning hours. This adrenaline rush can sometimes contribute to the breaking of cholesterol plaques that lead to blood clot formation.

An individual can become susceptible for myocardial infection due to the following risk factors:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure);
  • Elevated cholesterol levels, especially triglycerides;
  • Being overweight or obese;
  • High blood glucose levels(diabetes); and
  • Smoking with alcohol use.


Signs and Symptoms

Different people can have different manifestations of myocardial infarction, and this condition can even be sometimes asymptomatic. However, the most common symptom of an impending heart attack is usually angina pectoris—the chest pain felt due to ischemia. It is believed that once a person experiences angina, it should be taken as an early warning sign for myocardial infarction.

Other symptoms for a myocardial infarction include some or most of the following:

  • Heaviness or tightness of the chest (can sometimes be mistaken for heartburn);
  • Chest pain that radiates to the arm or back;
  • Shortness of breath or having difficulty in breathing;
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, and/or sweating; and
  • Anxiety and increased heart rate.



A myocardial infarction is a medical emergency that needs to be addressed right away. Complications may result if it is not properly managed. The worst thing that can happen is that some cases can result to cardiac failure, which can eventually lead to death.

A person having a heart attack needs to be brought to the hospital as soon as possible. In the event of cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and/or defibrillation may be performed by a qualified person.

Once admitted to a hospital facility, the person who underwent the myocardial infarction will be subjected to the following:

  • Being hooked to a heart monitor to make it easier for the health team to check the status and activity of the heart;
  • Receiving oxygen therapy to ensure that all parts of the body receive oxygenated blood and the heart does not have to work as much;
  • Administration of pain medication such as morphine and nitroglycerine to manage or minimize the chest pain felt;
  • Administration of aspirin to thin out blood and reduce the occurrence of blood clots; and
  • An IV line must be hooked to easily administer medications and fluids into the body.

If the blockage on the blood supply is really bad, an emergency procedure called the angioplasty can be performed in order to open the blood vessel. Stents (tiny mesh tubes) may be put in place during or after an angioplasty to keep the blood vessels from getting blocked again.


Disability Tax Credits for Myocardial Infarction

If you’ve just recently went through a heart attack, you are likely to qualify for a disability tax credit from the Canadian Revenue Agency. Given that you are unable to perform your usual activities of daily living, you may be granted a tax refund to recompense for your infirmity. The customer service representatives at HandyTax are more than willing to assist you in filing for your claims. Give us a call to set your appointment.