What are the causes of myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack) other than atherosclerosis?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: A Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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MI can also occur for causes other than atherosclerosis. Nonatherosclerotic causes of MI include the following:

  • Coronary occlusion secondary to vasculitis

  • Ventricular hypertrophy (eg, left ventricular hypertrophy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)

  • Coronary artery emboli, secondary to cholesterol, air, or the products of sepsis

  • Coronary trauma

  • Primary coronary vasospasm (variant angina)

  • Drug use (eg, cocaine, amphetamines, ephedrine)

  • Arteritis

  • Coronary anomalies, including aneurysms of coronary arteries

  • Factors that increase oxygen requirement, such as heavy exertion, fever, or hyperthyroidism

  • Factors that decrease oxygen delivery, such as hypoxemia of severe anemia

  • Aortic dissection, with retrograde involvement of the coronary arteries

  • Respiratory infections, particularly influenza [23, 24]

In addition, MI can result from hypoxia due to carbon monoxide poisoning or acute pulmonary disorders.

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