What You Didn’t Know About Heart Attacks

We have all heard of heart attacks and the common symptoms that occur. However, what you may not know is that heart attacks actually come in different shapes and sizes. There are different types of heart attacks; each with their own severity, symptoms, and urgencies.



A STEMI means that a complete blockage has occurred in a coronary artery. According to Harvard Health, this means heart muscle cells cannot receive the oxygen and energy they need to function, causing cells to die. A STEMI should be treated immediately.



Different from a STEMI, this type of heart attacks involves a partial blockage of the artery. Therefore a shortage of oxygen and energy is less severe than in a STEMI. NSTEMI can also be treated with urgency, but not all the time, according to Harvard Health.


Coronary artery spasm

This type of heart attack is less common. It involves the coronary arteries constricting, or spasming. Over an extended period of time, a heart attack can occur. A coronary artery spasm is typically detected is through an imaging exam that sees your blood vessels called an angiogram


MINOCA (Myocardial Infarction in the absence of obstructive coronary artery disease)

This type of heart attack is less common- accounting for only 5-6% of all heart attacks. This type of heart attack is particularly unique because a cardiac cath will not show any signs of blocked arteries. Instead, MINOCA is determined based on irregularity in blood enzymes indicating damage to the heart muscle. This type of heart attack is more common in young patients as well as females, according to Cleveland Clinic.


Silent heart attacks

A silent heart attack occurs with no symptoms. This can happen to anyone but generally speaking, is more common in women and diabetics, according to Cleveland Clinic. However, just because it is silent does not mean it is any less dangerous.




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