A heart attack occurs if one of the three heart arteries blocks off (coronary thrombosis).
For many people with coronary heart disease, their first symptom is a heart attack or sudden death, without ever having had any warning symptoms of angina.
Heart attacks are very dangerous and unpredictable. 30% of patients die before reaching hospital. The sudden lack ofblood and oxygen to the heart causes a fatal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation; the heart stops beating and the circulation of blood around the body stops. Even with prompt medical care and attempts to resuscitate the patient, these attacks are usually fatal.
The other half of patients recover from their heart attack. Modern medical treatments continue to improve the chances of a longer, more active life for survivors of heart attacks.
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