When a specific part of the heart dies due to lack of blood flow, it’s called an anteroseptal infarct.
This type of myocardial infarction (heart attack) occurs in the front of the heart just above the septum.
The septum is what separates the right side of the heart from the left. Hence, the front part of the septum is referred to as the “anteroseptal” part of the heart.
Functions of the Coronary Arteries
The arteries that supply the heart with blood are called the coronary arteries. If for whatever reason these become blocked, the result is a heart attack.
In the case of an anteroseptal infarct, there’s a partial block along one of the branches of the coronary arteries. If the vessel becomes fully blocked, then it can result in an acute myocardial infarction.
Once the heart tissue begins to die, it becomes harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Eventually, it can’t, and so the person dies.
Symptoms of an Anteroseptal Infarct
Patients with an anteroseptal infarct may experience the following:
- Shortness of Breath
- Prolonged Chest Pain
In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all.
Electrocardiograph – Detecting an Anteroseptal Infarct
The doctor can evaluate your heart using an electrocardiograph. This machine measures the electrical activity of the heart.
If it shows any irregular signals, then doctors can use that information to pin point the problem. The doctor will use electrodes to get a better picture of your heart.
Anteroseptal infarcts tend to be detected through the fourth ventricular leads. The person administering the test will be able to tell right away that something isn’t right.
In some cases, the doctor might find an old anteroseptal infarct. It’s possible that you experienced a minor one in the past that didn’t cause any symptoms.
Still, the damage can be left behind, which doctors can pick up on.
There are various ways to treat an infarct of the anteroseptal area. These include:
- Stenting: Surgeons will insert a long thin tube called a catheter into the heart. It will then blow up like a balloon to unblock the artery.
- Bypass Surgery: By far the most invasive procedure is bypass surgery. Here, doctors open the heart through the chest to reroute blood away from the blocked artery.
- Aspirin: Doctors may instruct you to take aspirin, an anti-clotting drug that can increase blood flow through the narrowed artery.
- Nitroglycerin: This medication can be used to widen a blood vessel within the heart. It can also be used to treat chest pain.
- ACE Inhibitors (Preventative): To prevent a future heart attack, your doctor may put you on ACE inhibitors. These drugs lower blood pressure, thus, reducing stress on the heart.
Bypass surgery is generally reserved for extreme cases when no other options are available. Stenting is considered a safer procedure that’s less invasive.
Risk Factors for Anteroseptal Infarcts
Certain risk factors can put you at a higher risk for developing heart problems. By improving these risk factors, you may prevent a heart attack from happening in the first place. They include:
- Age: People over the age of 45 years old are more likely to suffer a heart attack compared to younger people.
- High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure puts excess strain on the heart which, overtime, can damage the arteries and lead to a heart attack.
- Tobacco: Long-term smoking can increase your risk for heart-related problems.
- Stress: Stress elevates blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for heart attacks.
- High Cholesterol: Too much LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) can narrow the arteries in your heart. HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol.
- Obesity: People who are obese are at a higher risk of having an anteroseptal infarct.
- Lack of Exercise: Exercise strengthens the heart and is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction.
- Illegal Drug Use: Stimulants like amphetamines or cocaine can trigger a heart attack in otherwise healthy people.
Try to eliminate or reduce these risk factors as much as possible. That will decrease your chances of having a heart attack.
Plant-Based Diets Are the Way to Go
Plant-based diets are by far the best types of diets for a healthy heart. Try to eat more fruits and vegetables including kale, spinach, blueberries, bananas, avocados, and mangos.
Cut back on high-cholesterol foods like meat and dairy. Not only are animal-based foods loaded with cholesterol, but they are also high in saturated fat.
Too much saturated fat has been linked to a higher risk of ateroseptal infarct. Rather than drink cow’s milk, try a healthy alternative like almond or soy milk. These are free from cholesterol and saturated fat.
Whether you’re recovering from a previous anteroseptal infarct, or trying to prevent your first one, focus on reducing the above risk factors.
Get more exercise, eat healthier, and try to reduce your stress. Also, stop smoking and lose weight (if you’re obese). The only risk factor that you can’t control is your age, but you can control all the others.