What Is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when one of more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

The blockage is often a result of atherosclerosis - a buildup of plaque, known as cholesterol, and other fatty substances. Plaque inhibits and obstructs the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, thus reducing the flow to the rest of the body.

The cause of a heart attack is a blood clot that forms within the plaque-obstructed area.

If the blood and oxygen supply is cut off severely or for a long period of time, muscle cells of the heart suffer severe and devastating damage and die. The result is damage or death to the area of the heart that became affected by reduced blood supply.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Hospital & Clinics patient, you have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.