Heart Attack - Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI)
Patinet & Family Information
What Causes a Heart Attack?
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked by small clots or narrowing of the heart arteries.
This happens when heart arteries that supply the heart with blood slowly get thicker and harder from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances
Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, lack of exercise and obesity are all things that can lead to a higher risk of plaque build-up and blockages.
How is it treated?
Doctors will work to stop the heart attack and reduce the demands on the heart so that it can heal.
How do they do that?
They may use a procedure called an emergency coronary angioplasty through cardiac catheterization ('kär-dE-"ak "ka-th&-t&-r&-'zA-shan).
This is a procedure that is used to open blocked heart arteries. It may be used after or instead of thrombolytic ("thräm-b&-'li-tik) therapy (clot buster medication). During this procedure, the patient may have a small device called a stent placed in the artery to help keep it open.
Where will treatments be provided?
Your local hospital may give you clot busting drugs (thrombolytic therapy) if it is the right treatment for you.
Advanced cardiac procedures, such as angioplasty ('an-jE-&-"plas-tE) are available at Maine Medical Center. Take a virtual tour of MMC's Cardiac Catheterization Lab!
How are the MaineHealth system and other hospitals working to improve patient care?
In 2004, many hospitals in the MaineHealth system, as well as other community hospitals, formed the AMI/PCI Program.
The program goal is to improve the care and outcomes of all individuals with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and strive to make sure timely and coordinated care across the health care system is achieved regardless of their point of entry.
MaineHealth is a family of leading, high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so our communities are the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation's top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth's member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Miles Memorial Hospital, St. Andrews Hospital & Healthcare Center, Southern Maine Medical Center, Stephens Memorial Hospital, Waldo County General Hospital, Spring Harbor Hospital, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Medical Center, Mid Coast Hospital, St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and Penobscot Bay Medical Center.
For more information about the Heart Attack/AMI Program at MaineHealth, please send an email to Cynthia Pernice, Program Manager, or call (207) 541-7539.