A heart attack may cause a low pulse and high blood pressure. A heart attack is characterized by insufficient oxygen getting to the heart due to blocked blood vessels. Also known as a myocardial infarction, the heart muscle can either become damaged as a result or the heart muscle can die. A heart attack is a medical emergency. Anyone experiencing the signs and symptoms should call 911 immediately. Chest pain that may radiate is the most common symptom. It may feel tight, heavy or squeezing, or like bad indigestion. Other symptoms may include cough, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, heart palpitations, anxiety, fainting, sweating, nausea or vomiting and shortness of breath.
Associated arrhythmias may be life-threatening and are commonly treated with electrical cardioversion/defibrillation or medications. Patients will be given oxygen and intravenous fluids, as well as have a urinary catheter inserted. Clot-busting drugs are often used. Other treatments may include angioplasty and stent placement, coronary artery bypass surgery and other medications, such as nitroglycerin, antiplatelet medications, narcotic or opioid pain medications, aspirin, beta-blockers, lipid-lowering medications and ACE inhibitors.