What Is Myocardial Infarction and What Causes It?

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A myocardial infarction, also called a heart attack, occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. The blockage is most often a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries). The plaque eventually breaks away and forms a clot. The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. Causes There are two main causes of myocardial infarction, and they are:
  • Coronary artery disease, causing most heart attacks.
  • A spasm of a coronary artery - using tobacco and illicit drugs, such as cocaine, can cause a life-threatening spasm.