Practice Question # 787.
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Myocardial infarction (MI): death of heart tissue caused by lack of oxygenated blood flow; if acute, abbreviated as AMI.
MI refers to the process by which areas of myocardial cells in the heart are permanently destroyed. Like unstable angina, MI is usually caused by reduced blood flow in a coronary artery due to atherosclerosis and occlusion of an artery by an embolus or thrombus. Because unstable angina and acute MI are considered to be the same process but different points along a continuum, the term acute coronary syndrome (ACS) may be used for these diagnoses.
Other causes of an MI include vasospasm (sudden constriction or narrowing) of a coronary artery; decreased oxygen supply (eg, from acute blood loss, anemia, or low blood pressure); and increased demand for oxygen (eg, from a rapid heart rate, thyrotoxicosis, or ingestion of cocaine).