What is myocardial ischemia, and how does it ultimately lead to 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

For the normal heart to continue to function and to steadily pump blood efficiently to meet the demands of the body, it needs to have a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients provided mainly by the coronary circulation. A condition called myocardial ischemia happens if blood supply to the myocardium does not meet the demand. If this imbalance persists, it triggers a cascade of cellular, inflammatory and biochemical events, leading eventually to the irreversible death of heart muscle cells, resulting in MI.


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