What is STEMI, and why is it called STEMI?

The STEMI stances for the ST-elevation myocardial infarction. The STEMI gets its name from how it primarily disturbs the heart’s lower chambers and how electrical current travels through them. STEMI is the most dangerous and complicated kind of heart attack, which can even cause death to an individual. Among heart attacks, STEMIs are typically more severe; between 2.5% and 10% of individuals with STEMIs die within 30 days.

    The medical term for heart attack is myocardial infarction, where the infraction is a blockage of blood streaming to the myocardium and the heart muscles. Because of the blockage, the heart muscles die. The STEMI is a myocardial infraction that causes a different pattern on an ECG or EKG test. An EKG or ECG is a medical test to detect the heart’s electoral movement. It is typically displayed as a wave pattern on a digital display or a readout paper. The distinct parts of the waves are characterized using the letter p at the initial point and the letter u at the ending point. For understanding the ST-elevation, it aids in knowing about the two specific wave sections, namely:

  • The QRS complex: The QRS is the prominent peak that appears on a heat wave. This wave is caused when the ventricles pump the blood out of an individual’s heart.
  • The ST segment: The ST segment is a small section quickly after the QRS complex. In this ST segment, there should not be any electrical activity leading it to be flat and back to baseline. 

When does the STEMI heart attack occur?

A STEMI occurs when a fatty substance known as plaque is formed in the coronary arteries of an individual, which transfers the blood to the heart. This stress causes a tear in the artery, clumps of blood, or blood clots cover-up, leading to a complete blockage. When these are blocked, the part of the heart muscles that used to work with the arteries will immediately experience ischemia (is-key-me-uh), a medical term for how an individual’s tissues and cells begin to die due to lack of adequate blood circulation. Furthermore, some heart muscles will start to die, causing a heart attack or myocardial infarction. If there is a lot of damage to the heart muscle, that would indicate that the individual’s heart cannot transport enough blood to the entire body, which causes cardiogenic shock. A cardiogenic shock is a medical condition that causes an individual to become fatal. 

Acute coronary syndrome.

Acute coronary syndrome is an illness due to limited or no blood transportation to a part of the heart. STEMI is one of the three conditions that come under acute coronary syndrome. The other two conditions are NSTEMI, known as non-ST elevation myocardial infarction, and unstable angina caused by limited blood flow to the heart. 

Types of STEMI.

  • The anterior STEMI: This kind of STEMI typically occurs when a blockage is present in the LAD (left anterior descending) artery. The largest artery transports the blood to the front side of the individual’s heart. A heart attack affecting this area has a more significant negative effect. 
  • The inferior or lateral STEMI includes the RCA (right coronary artery). The RCA supplies the low side of an individual’s heart or the LCX (left circumflex) artery, which transports blood to the side wall of an individual’s heart. These STEMIs are less severe than the anterior STEMI because the RCA and the LCX are usually smaller than the LAD. 

Who is mostly affected by STEMIs?

There are factors that individuals can control, and some are uncontrollable and can cause STEMI.

  • The lifestyle factors that  an individual can control are:
  • The use of tobacco and smoking.
  • The level of physical activity.
  • Apatite includes fat (cholesterol), sodium (blood pressure), sugar, or diabetes.
  • An excessive amount of alcohol intake.
  • Abusing drugs and other medication that affects an individual’s heart like cocaine.
  • The factors that are not in control and lead to STEMI are:
  • Age: Most aged people have a high risk of a heart attack.
  • Gender: According to gender, women have the risk of a heart attack at the age of 50 or most likely after menopause. In men, the risk of heart attack increases after age 45. 
  •  Medical history: Any family member with a history of a heart attack at a younger age or any age can increase the risk of a heart attack for other family members. 
  • Congenital or genetic condition: Some medical conditions or illnesses that can increase the risk of a heart attack in an individual is genetic. Some are inherited, and some are congenital. Both of these factors are outside of an individual’s control. 

What are the symptoms of STEMI?

The indications of a STEMI are similar to that of a heart attack; however, they include the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain or angina is a coronary artery disorder. It happens because of a painful tightening in the heart muscles. It occurs when an individual’s heart requires more oxygen-rich blood. 
  •  Shortness of breath, also called (Dyspnea) is a tight feeling in an individual’s chest causing trouble breathing. 
  • Stomach pain, nausea, or discomfort. 
  • Heart palpitations are usual, and they can be startling because the individual is unaware of his heartbeat. The feeling of pounding or racing heart mainly doesn’t last long.  
  • Sweating.
  • Anxiety.
  • Feeling dizzy, fainting, or lightheaded. 

How to diagnose STEMI?

The healthcare advisor will diagnose STEMI according to the combination of physical tests of an individual’s diagnostic exam and symptoms. The following tests will be conducted to diagnose STEMI:

  • EKG (electrocardiogram): This examination shows the electrical activity in the heart in the form of a wave pattern. It is the primary method to diagnose STEMI.
  • The healthcare advisor can advise an individual on some of the following imaging tests to diagnose STEMI:
  • Ultra-high-frequency sound waves build the image of an individual’s heart and internal structure. 
  • Computed tomography (CT-scan) uses X-rays and computer processing to make a highly detailed view of the heart. The scan is done with the help of a dye that’s added to an individual’s blood. It would help to detect the blockage in the artery. 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to create a high-resolution image of an individual’s heart with the help of a mighty magnet and a computer to process the images. 
  • Lab tests can be conducted to detect a troponin. The damaged heart cells release a chemical known as troponin. The troponin test can help to confirm a heart attack. It is vital because a few similar conditions below can lead to ST elevation. 
  • Pericardium or inflammation of the heart.
  • Broken heart syndrome where the heart problem is caused by extreme emotional strain or stress.
  • Arrhythmias knew as irregular heart rhythm.
  • Electrolyte imbalances. 




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  • https://www.saem.org/about-saem/academies-interest-groups-affiliates2/cdem/for-students/online-education/m3-curriculum/group-electrocardiogram-(ECG)-rhythm-recognition/STEMI retrieved on 18 Aug. 22
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https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22068-stemi-heart-attack#:~:text=is%20a%20STEMI%3F-,An%20ST%2Delevation%20myocardial%20infarction%20(STEMI)%20is%20a%20type,electrical%20current%20travels%20through%20them. retrieved on 18 Aug. 22