A heart attack occurs when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle. This blockage causes the blood not to reach a certain part of the heart muscle, which damages the artery. A heart attack can occur at any time at rest or while exercising.

The pain heart attacks cause is quite severe. Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sweatiness
  • Nauseous (sick)
  • Paling of the skin colour
  • Skin becoming cold.

You may also hear a heart attack called the following names: myocardial infarction, coronary occlusion or coronary thrombosis.

If you are experiencing a heart attack, or are with someone that is having a heart attack, call 999 immediately.

Primary angioplasty

Primary angioplasty is a way of clearing a blockage that is causing a heart attack by using a thin catheter to insert a stent into the artery.

Harefield Hospital heart attack centre

Harefield's cardiology department has a busy diagnostic and interventional heart attack centre (cardiac angiography service). There are four cath labs in total, completing approximately 5,000 procedures every year. 

Find out more about the heart attack centre