Heart attack. Illustration representing a heart attack (myocardial infarction) showing a heart seen on a body outline. Heart attacks are due to the sudden death, or necrosis, of part of the heart muscle (red). They commonly result from a blockage in one of the coronary arteries (seen on the surface of the heart) which provide the heart with its blood supply. The most frequent cause of blockage is atherosclerosis, in which fatty plaques of atheroma develop in the inner lining of the arteries restricting the blood flow. Heart attacks cause sudden severe pain in the centre of the chest, and around half are fatal within days.
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