If you have a myocardial infarction, the double membrane that is around the heart has become inflamed. In rare cases, fluid may accumulate between the membranes. Then the heart becomes more difficult to pump the blood and the blood circulation becomes worse. With treatment, inflammation can go away quickly, but sometimes it takes months or years.

Myocardial infarction is often caused by a viral infection. In countries where tuberculosis is common, it is the most common cause. Myocardial infarction can also be due to some illnesses such as arthritis or myocardial infarction. You usually also have heart muscle inflammation at the same time.

You may get myocardial infarction after heart surgery, catheter intervention in the heart or various types of infections. The risk can even increase if you have a severe blow to the chest, but it is unusual. Myocardial infarction is also commonly called pericarditis.

Symptoms of myocardial infarction

If you have a myocardial infarction, one or more of the following are common:

  • You get a cutting pain to the left or middle of the chest.
  • It hurts more when you lie down than when you sit up.
  • It hurts more when you breathe deeply or move
  • You are breathless.

When and where should I seek care?

If you have symptoms that you believe may be due to myocardial infarction, contact a health center or emergency room immediately. If it is closed at the health center or on-call reception, seek care at an emergency room.

Treatment for myocardial infarction

The most common form of myocardial infarction is caused by viruses and heals by itself. Other forms of myocardial infarction are treated with pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs. It is common for you to stay in the hospital for about a day so that your doctor can observe your heart rhythm. The heart is usually examined using ultrasound and sometimes fluid has to be drained from the heart sac. You may also need treatment for what has caused the inflammation if it is due to another illness.

With treatment, the inflammation can go on for a few days or weeks, but it can sometimes take months or years. You should avoid sports and heavier bodywork until the inflammation heals, but otherwise, you can live as usual.

Influence and participate in your care

You can seek care at any medical center or open specialist clinic you want throughout the country. Sometimes a referral  to the open specialist care is required.

You should understand the information

In order for you to be involved in your care and treatment for myocardial infarction, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand. For example, you should receive information about treatment options and how long you may have to wait for care and treatment.

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