An inferior myocardial infarction is a problem with the heart where cells along the inferior wall of the heart die in response to oxygen deprivation. This most commonly occurs as a result of a blockage in the right coronary artery, cutting off the supply of blood to this area of the heart. This condition can be treated in a hospital setting and the prognosis for the patient is dependent on history and physical condition. Some people recover very well from a myocardial infarction.
This condition is acute, onsetting very rapidly when the blood supply is interrupted. Usually, an inferior myocardial infarction is associated with the loosening of an atherosclerotic plaque in the wall of the right coronary artery. The plaque detaches from the wall of the artery, effectively blocking it. As the flow of blood slows, the oxygen-hungry heart muscles begin to die, often causing sudden pain. Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can be experienced and the patient may feel dizzy or disoriented. It is important to be aware that myocardial infarctions, also known as heart attacks, do not always cause chest pain, especially in women.
In an electrocardiogram, tell-tale signs of an inferior myocardial infarction can be seen, even after the acute attack is already over. The pattern of electrical signals in the heart becomes disrupted, and the severity of the disruption can provide information about the extent of the damage. People receiving treatment for this condition will be carefully evaluated to collect information about the nature of the damage.
Treatments for inferior myocardial infarction can include the administration of medications, along with rest. Patients may be given supplementary oxygen if they have trouble breathing. After the patient recovers, rehabilitation therapy may be recommended. Surgery can also be an option. Once someone has experienced damage to the heart muscle, that patient is at increased risk of having problems in the future and doctors may discuss prevention and treatment options, as future heart events may be worse.
Myocardial infarction is more common in older adults and people in poor physical condition. People can significantly reduce the risks of experiencing a myocardial infarction by keeping cholesterol levels low, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet. Smoking can also be a risk factor. People who cut down on their tobacco consumption or quit altogether are at less risk of developing heart problems, especially if they have not been using tobacco for very long.