MINOCA does not include hindered arteries and is regularly expelled as minor by medical professionals.
Although regularly expelled as minor, scientists have raised the caution over a mysterious type of heart attack.
It’s called myocardial infarction with nonobstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA).
MINOCA isn’t caused by impeded arteries which are the reason for most heart attacks.
Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada played out the first long-term study on MINOCA. Their discoveries were distributed in the International Journal of Cardiology.
Dr. Suresh Sharma, a cardiologist at Kentucky Health Association, told Healthline, “The authors of this investigation ought to be congratulated for their effort to reveal insight into the need for greater evaluation and management of these patients.”
He believes that MINOCA is not being taken seriously enough by cardiologists.
Dr. Matthew D. Solomon, a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, said he did not think the study actually went far enough.
“Although this study provides great insight, it does not shed any specific light on how we should treat MINOCA patients,” he told Healthline.
Researchers found that while one-quarter of a common heart attack patients are female, women make up half of all MINOCA patients.
The study also found that only 40 percent of these patients were able to reduce their risk for a second heart attack.
Sharma said these drugs “may include medications for congestive heart failure, anti-inflammatory medications or blood thinners.”
He suggested that treatment options should be provided by MINOCA.
Looking into the causes
The University of Alberta researchers are still investigating why MINOCA attacks happen, but they have identified several potential causes.
The reasons include inflammation of the heart and tiny tears in the artery that cannot be detected without special equipment.
Sharma points out those emotions can powerfully affect heart health.
“MINOCA can also be caused by ‘broken heart’ syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy,” he said.
Sharma says this is a potentially fatal, stress-induced heart condition.
When asked what people can do to minimize the risk of MINOCA, Sharma offered some simple advice.
“Quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get stress under control,” he said.
Condition often ignored
Experts noted that this type of heart attack has not been taken seriously by medical experts in the past.
“Historically, MINOCA has been seen to be a condition of the disease. “But we found that after one year’s time, five percent of patients had a heart attack,” said Kevin Bainey, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Alberta, in a press release.
“Because we have not seen plate breaks or blockages, physicians have tended to downplay the heart attack and provide limited information.
They’ve been feeling patient, “Bainey added. “However, many of the MINOCA causes are known to respond to targeted therapies.”
Misperception is the problem, according to Sharma.
“A MINOCA diagnosis can lead physicians to believe that it was not really a heart attack,” he noted.
Sharma said this could lead to nonheart issues instead and avoid beneficial heart treatments.
However, Solomon disagreed.
“I do not think doctors have traditionally downplayed MINOCA,” he said. “I think the problem is that the optimal treatment strategies for MINOCA have yet to be identified.”
“The key message is that patients with MINOCA showing no significant artery disease should not be labeled as having a ‘false’ heart attack. They need further workup to rule out other causes, “said Sharma.
“Patients need to know this condition is real,” added Bainey. “It’s associated with adverse outcomes and they need to probe their physicians for more information about the condition and ways to prevent a second heart attack ,including making important lifestyle changes like eating healthier and exercising.”
Solomon concluded, “A better understanding of MINOCA is among women, a better understanding of the causes and treatments for women who have experienced a heart attack is sorely needed.”