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What is an Infarction?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 17, 2024
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Infarction is a medical condition in which tissue dies because the arterial blood supply is blocked. It is usually the end product of ischemia, or lowered blood supply. Infarction is most often seen with the word "myocardial," indicating a heart attack. This condition occurs when one of the main cardiac arteries is blocked. When this happens, a person will often need heart bypass surgery.

Some symptoms of myocardial infarction include chest pain, pain in the left arm or jaw, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. However, about 25 percent of people who have a heart attack will not have symptoms. This is most common in the elderly and in diabetics.

A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident, is usually caused by an infarction. It may be caused by a blood vessel with inadequate blood flow due to plaque build-up, or by a small blood clot or bit of plaque from another artery that interrupts the brain's blood supply. Some 80 percent of strokes are caused by this condition.

Peripheral artery occlusive disease (PAOD) can also be related to myocaridal infarction. In PAOD, the arteries in the legs become occluded and the blood flow is insufficient to maintain healthy circulation. Some people, especially diabetics, may undergo amputations due to gangrene in the lower extremities.

The main treatment for the condition, regardless of where it occurs, is to get the blood flowing again. This can be done in a variety of ways. If the patient is a smoker, he is strongly urged to quit. The doctor may also have the patient increase his activity level and lose weight. A physician may also prescribe blood thinning medicine to help prevent clots from forming elsewhere.

As with many disorders, the best way to treat this problem is to prevent it. Quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising and controlling blood sugar are all effective ways to help reduce the chances of developing the ischemia that leads to infarction. With ischemia and infarction, the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is all too true.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By golf07 — On Jun 14, 2012

My dad has had more than one stroke and each time they have called these an acute infarction. His first stroke was minor and he had a full recovery.

With his most recent stroke, it was much more severe and now he is paralyzed on his left side. This infarction also affected his speech and thought process.

You can tell that he wants to communicate something, but he has a hard time doing it. One of the worst things about something like this, is you don't usually have any warning this is going to happen.

Being able to receive medical treatment as soon as possible is a plus, but many times a lot of damage has already been done.

By sunshined — On Jun 13, 2012

I happened to be with my grandpa when he had a coronary infarction. We were eating lunch and he just slumped over in his chair. We immediately called for help and he was taken to the hospital.

He did not have any history of heart problems, so this was a surprise for everybody. Not everyone survives a heart attack, so we were so thankful that he made it to the hospital alive.

Most of his arteries were blocked and he had open heart surgery that same week. I have heard about other situations where someone doesn't have any symptoms before they have a heart attack, but this was the only time I have personally seen it happen, and hope I never have to go through that again.

By anon147828 — On Jan 30, 2011

My name is c arroyo i have infarction cerebellar. what is to happen to me? can anyone tell me please?

By kitty46 — On Aug 18, 2008

My grandson was born with a cerebral infarct on the brain. He had a brain scan every year for at least 5-6 years, but never had another one after that. He is now 17 What is it, and what can it do to him?

He was born cocaine addicted, with fetal alcohol syndrome. Could this have caused it?

By anon10448 — On Mar 27, 2008

is there a chart that measures infarction rates?

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With...
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