Atypical presentation of myocardial infarction


Q: My dad was diagnosed with vertigo and was in hospital for two an a half days they ran an mri a cat scan and a brain x ray only way i can explain it they released him with out the results of any of his test no more than twenty four hours later he died of a massive heart attack although he never had any problems with his heart and they even said his heart was fine while he was in hospital could vertigo have caused this if this pre vertigo massive heart attack)before he went to the hospital he had problems with falling down and walking he was fifty five years old


A:   Classic symptoms of a heart attack (Myocardial Infarction) include chest pain with radiation to the left arm or jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and vomiting. However in diabetic or elderly patients, especially females, presentation may be atypical with symptoms of difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness and fatigue occurring more frequently, than classical chest pain. Alternatively your father’s symptoms could have been secondary to a heart rhythm abnormality. On admission to hospital a normal ECG (electrical trace of the heart) and cardiac enzyme profile would have virtually excluded an atypical presentation of acute MI. I would advise contacting your father’s Consultant Physician, making an appointment to view the medical records, which may help to answer some of your questions, regarding your father’s presentation to hospital prior to his death.

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