Can an embolism cause a heart attack?
Pulmonary emboli are the most common. Coronary relates to or denotes the arteries that surround and supply the heart. An embolism in an artery in the brain can cause a transient ischaemic attack, or a stroke. An embolism in a coronary artery (an artery on the surface of the heart) can cause a heart attack.
A heart attack results when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle and heart muscle dies. The blood clot that causes the heart attack usually forms at the site of rupture of an atherosclerotic, cholesterol plaque on the inner wall of a coronary artery.
- If blood flow is not restored to your heart muscle within 20-40 minutes, irreversible death of the muscle will begin to occur. Depending on how much heart muscle is damaged, disability or death can result. But if you actually do live through this, your dead heart muscle will eventually be replaced by scar tissue.
- If stress itself is a risk factor for heart disease, it could be because chronic stress exposes your body to unhealthy, persistently elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack.
- Someone having a heart attack may feel:
- chest pain, which may also include feelings of: tightness. discomfort. crushing pain.
- spreading pain, which may spread out: from the chest area. down one or both arms.
- shortness of breath.
- paleness, sweating or overall weakness.
- nausea, vomiting and maybe indigestion.
- anxiety or fear.
Updated: 2nd October 2019