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What Is A Heart Attack?

Heart attacks happen when part of the heart muscle is damaged because blood and oxygen does not reach it. If the portion of the heart muscle is starved of its oxygen supply for too long, the heart tissue dies. This is a heart attack, otherwise known as myocardial infarction. Heart attacks are very serious and can lead to death without immediate treatment.


1 in every 5 deaths in Malaysia are due to a heart attack!

According to the Ministry of Health Malaysia, heart disease remains the number one killer of Malaysians over the past 30 years. In 2015, a total of 17,771 Malaysians had a heart attack. In 2016, heart disease  caused a total of 22.62% deaths. In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that heart attacks caused 30,598 or 22.13% of all deaths in Malaysia.


What Is A STEMI?

ST-Elevated Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) is a very serious type of heart attack. This is usually due to rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque in a blood vessel (coronary artery) supplying the heart. Doctors will be able to detect this serious problem with an electrocardiogram (ECG) and can provide immediate treatment. In this case, quick and effective treatment saves lives.

What Is A PCI?

Primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) is the gold standard in treating heart attacks, especially STEMI cases. This treatment involves a minor surgical procedure whereby a thin wire with an expandable balloon tip is inserted into one of the major arteries of the body and is directed into the blocked blood vessel (coronary artery) in the heart. The balloon is then inflated (angioplasty) to open up the blockage, widening the narrowed artery.

Following that, a metallic scaffold (stent) is inserted in the place of the balloon in order to restore blood flow to the heart. The wire and balloon are then taken out of the body, leaving only a small scar at the entry site. This whole procedure takes approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour and greatly improves survival rates as well as reduces long-term morbidity in the patient.  


Atherosclerosis in blood vessles due to fat build up


Angioplasty balloon used to open up narrowed and clogged arteries


Stent in the blood vessel help keep it open and allow blood flow

How Do I Know If I Have A Heart Attack?

  • ​Severe pain or discomfort in the chest

  • Pain or numbness spreading to the left arm and jaw

  • Shortness of breath

  • Lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting

  • Cold sweats

What Are The Common Risk Factors For A Heart Attack?

  • Smoking​

  • DIabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Male gender

  • Age

  • High cholesterol

  • Family history

  • Sedentary lifestyle


Area of the heart with dead muscle tissue from a heart attack

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About 50% of patients with heart attacks have 3 or more risk factors!

Age matters! Malaysians develop heart attacks at a much younger age. 50% of patients develop a heart attack in the prime of their life between 40 - 60 years!

How Common Are These Risk Factors Among Malaysians?


4 out of 5 Malaysians are overweight

13.8 million adults are overwieght or obese


2 out of 5 Malaysians have Diabetes

3.8 million adults are diabetic 


 3 out of 5 Malaysians have high blood pressure

6.4 million adults have high blood pressure

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3 out of 5 Malaysians have high cholesterol

10.3 million adults have high cholesterol


2 out of 5 Malaysians smoke

4.8 million men smoke cigarettes

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