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What is a heart attack?

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A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart is interrupted causing some heart cells to die. This is most commonly due to occlusion (blockage) of a coronary artery following the rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, which is an unstable collection of lipids (like cholesterol) and white blood cells (especially macrophages) in the wall of an artery. The resulting ischemia (restriction in blood supply) and oxygen shortage, if left untreated for a sufficient period of time, can cause damage and / or death (infarction) of heart muscle tissue (myocardium).

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