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Complications from Heart Attack: Heart Rupture

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Unless you live in a vacuum, it would be hard not to know that heart attacks are extremely serious events which can result in permanent damage to your heart, disability, and even death. What may not be as well-known is that while you may survive the heart attack, you may not survive the accompanying complications.

Many heart attack complications can be just as serious and potentially life-threatening as the heart-attack itself. Heart rupture is one such complication which is frequently fatal. (It should be noted that heart rupture can be caused by other events such as a blunt force injury received during an automobile accident. However, for purposes of this article, we are only examining heart rupture as it relates to heart attack patients.)

It’s not uncommon for a heart attack to leave the surrounding heart muscles in a weakened or damaged condition. The weakened condition of the heart muscles coupled with the added internal pressure, can cause the heart muscles to rupture, resulting in a hole or tear in the heart muscle.

Heart ruptures are more common in women than men, especially older women who experience angina after a heart attack. People with high blood pressure or hypertension are also at a greater risk of suffering heart rupture as well as those over the age of 60 years or those who used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the heart attack.

Approximately 10 percent of all heart attack patients experience heart rupture. While heart ruptures can occur up to three weeks after a heart attack, most occur within three to five days after the onset of the heart attack.

Heart ruptures are extremely life-threatening. Unless diagnosed and surgically treated immediately, heart ruptures are frequently fatal. Among heart patients, heart rupture is the second leading cause of in-hospital deaths and is responsible for approximately 15 percent of all in-hospital deaths.

Heart rupture symptoms include conditions such as chest pain, shortness of breath, vomiting, and cool or clammy skin. Patients may also go into shock and lose consciousness. For some patients, sudden death is the only symptom of heart rupture.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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