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Heart attack - what to ask your doctor

What to ask your doctor about your heart attack

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart is blocked for a period of time and a part of the heart muscle is damaged. It is also called a myocardial infarction (MI).

Angina is pain or pressure in the chest. It occurs when your heart muscle is not getting enough blood or oxygen. You may feel angina in your neck or jaw. Sometimes you may notice that you are short of breath.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of yourself after a heart attack.

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Acute MI

Animation

Coronary artery disease

I Would Like to Learn About:

Questions

What are the signs and symptoms that I am having angina? Will I always have the same symptoms?

How much activity is ok for me?

Do I need to have a stress test? Do I need to go to a cardiac rehabilitation program?

When can I return to work? Are there limits on what I can do at work?

What should I do if I feel sad or very worried about my heart disease?

How can I change the way I live to make my heart healthier?

Is it OK to be sexually active? Is it safe to use sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), or tadalafil (Cialis) for erection problems?

What medicines am I taking to treat angina?

If I am taking a blood thinner such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), prasugrel (Effient), ticagrelor (Brilinta), coumadin (Warfarin), apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xeralto), edoxaban (Savaysa), dabigatran (Pradaxa), can I use medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) for arthritis, headaches, or other pain problems?

Related Information

Heart attack
Stable angina
Unstable angina
Tips on how to quit smoking
Heart bypass surgery
Angioplasty and stent placement - carotid artery
Heart bypass surgery - minimally invasive
Heart pacemaker
Angina - discharge
Heart attack - discharge
Angioplasty and stent - heart - discharge
Aspirin and heart disease
Being active after your heart attack
Cardiac catheterization - discharge
Cholesterol and lifestyle
Heart bypass surgery - discharge
Heart bypass surgery - minimally invasive - discharge
Cholesterol - drug treatment

References

Anderson JL. ST segment elevation acute myocardial infarction and complications of myocardial infarction. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 73.

Morrow DA, de Lemos JA. Stable ischemic heart disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 61.

Smith Jr SC, Benjamin EJ, Bonow RO, et al. AHA/ACCF secondary prevention and risk reduction therapy for patients with coronary and other atherosclerotic vascular disease: 2011 update: a guideline from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Foundation endorsed by the World Heart Federation and the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;58(23):2432-2446. PMID: 22055990 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22055990.

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Review Date: 1/28/2019  

Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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