Updated: September 24, 2017
A heart attack is the death of a part of heart muscle caused by a loss of blood supply. When an artery supplying the heart muscle is blocked by a blood clot, the blood is usually cut off. Hence your heart muscle is starved of oxygen-rich blood causing damage to your heart muscle.
Complications of heart attack can vary from mild to life threatening. For minor heart attack there will not be any associated complications, although it can still be very serious.
This is also known as an uncomplicated heart attack. A major heart attack will have a wide range of potential complications and may require extensive treatment.
Some common complications of a heart attack include:
An abnormal heartbeat such as beating too quickly, too slowly or irregularly is known as arrhythmia. After a heart attack, the damaged muscles disrupt electrical signals used by the body to control the heart which results in developing arrhythmia.
Some arrhythmias such as tachycardia are mild and cause symptoms such as:
Other arrhythmias can be life threatening, such as:
The electrical signals are unable to travel from one side of your heart to the other in this case. So your heart cannot pump blood properly or eventually stop pumping.
In this case the heart begins beating faster before going into a spasm and stops pumping altogether. This is also known as sudden cardiac arrest.
These arrhythmias are life-threatening and can be a major cause of death during the 24 to 48 hours after a heart attack.
After a heart attack if your heart muscle is extensively damaged, your heart is unable to effectively pump blood around your body. This will result in heart failure and usually happens in the left ventricle.
Some common symptoms of heart failure include:
If the heart muscle has been damaged so extensively that it can no longer pump enough blood to regulate many of the body's functions, then a cardiogenic shock occurs. This is similar but more serious then heart failure.
Some of the common symptoms include:
After a heart attack if the heart's muscles, walls or valves rupture, then it is known as heart rupture. A heart rupture is an extremely serious condition and usually happens 1 to 5 days of a heart attack. Symptoms are similar to cardiogenic shock.
After you have had a heart attack, you should be monitored for several months to check for any of these complications that may occur.