Myocardial Infarction - Classification


There are two basic types of acute myocardial infarction based on pathology:

  • Transmural: associated with atherosclerosis involving a major coronary artery. It can be subclassified into anterior, posterior, inferior, lateral or septal. Transmural infarcts extend through the whole thickness of the heart muscle and are usually a result of complete occlusion of the area's blood supply. In addition, on ECG, ST elevation and Q waves are seen.
  • Subendocardial: involving a small area in the subendocardial wall of the left ventricle, ventricular septum, or papillary muscles. The subendocardial area is particularly susceptible to ischemia. In addition, ST depression is seen on ECG.

In the clinical context, a myocardial infarction can be further subclassified into a ST elevation MI (STEMI) versus a non-ST elevation MI (non-STEMI) based on ECG changes. The phrase heart attack is sometimes used incorrectly to describe sudden cardiac death, which may or may not be the result of acute myocardial infarction. A heart attack is different from, but can be the cause of cardiac arrest, which is the stopping of the heartbeat, and cardiac arrhythmia, an abnormal heartbeat. It is also distinct from heart failure, in which the pumping action of the heart is impaired; however severe myocardial infarction may lead to heart failure. A 2007 consensus document classifies myocardial infarction into five main types:

  • Type 1 – Spontaneous myocardial infarction related to ischemia due to a primary coronary event such as plaque erosion and/or rupture, fissuring, or dissection
  • Type 2 – Myocardial infarction secondary to ischemia due to either increased oxygen demand or decreased supply, e.g. coronary artery spasm, coronary embolism, anaemia, arrhythmias, hypertension, or hypotension
  • Type 3 – Sudden unexpected cardiac death, including cardiac arrest, often with symptoms suggestive of myocardial ischaemia, accompanied by new ST elevation, or new LBBB, or evidence of fresh thrombus in a coronary artery by angiography and/or at autopsy, but death occurring before blood samples could be obtained, or at a time before the appearance of cardiac biomarkers in the blood
  • Type 4 – Associated with coronary angioplasty or stents:
    • Type 4a – Myocardial infarction associated with PCI
    • Type 4b – Myocardial infarction associated with stent thrombosis as documented by angiography or at autopsy
  • Type 5 – Myocardial infarction associated with CABG

Read more about this topic:  Myocardial Infarction

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