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Heart attack. Gross clinical specimen of a section through a heart muscle following a heart attack (myocardial infarction). A heart attack occurs when an area of the heart muscle is deprived of oxygenated blood, which leads to the death of that area. This prevents the normal beating of the heart, and can be rapidly fatal. Heart attacks are a common cause of death, linked to a sedentary lifestyle, stress, obesity and cigarette smoking. A heart attack causes agonizing chest pain, which may extend down the left arm. Given prompt medical treatment many people survive, although lifestyle changes and surgery are often required to prolong life.
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