What are the irregular vital signs that may be observed in myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack)?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: A Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Answer

The patient’s vital signs may demonstrate the following in MI:

  • The patient’s heart rate is often increased (tachycardic) secondary to a high sympathoadrenal discharge

  • The pulse may be irregular because of ventricular ectopy, an accelerated idioventricular rhythm, ventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation or flutter, or other supraventricular arrhythmias; bradyarrhythmias may be present

  • In general, the patient's blood pressure is initially elevated because of peripheral arterial vasoconstriction resulting from an adrenergic response to pain and ventricular dysfunction

  • However, with right ventricular MI or severe left ventricular dysfunction, hypotension and cardiogenic shock can be seen

  • The respiratory rate may be increased in response to pulmonary congestion or anxiety

  • Coughing, wheezing, and the production of frothy sputum may occur

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.


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