How Long Does a Massive Heart Attack Take to Kill You, and Can this Happen While You are Sleeping?
Heart attacks often occur when a blood vessel or the Coronary Artery that supplies blood to the cardiac muscle tissue becomes blocked. These Myocardial Infarctions may range from negligible events that somewhat compromise function, to tragic blockages that lead to the heart’s complete failure.
The most dangerous factor of a “Massive Heart Attack” is normally not the heart attack itself, but arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. Irregular heart rhythm can occur in several different situations, and most have nothing to do with the clogged arteries. Of course, abrupt blocking of an artery might be the most common cause of fatal abnormal heart rhythm.
With severe arrhythmia, death is sometimes sudden and inevitable. The heart may stop beating and the victim might fall unconscious. At such a time, there is a possibility of reviving the heart and bringing the person back through Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), provided the defibrillator reaches the patient soon enough.
Yes, heart attacks can occur during sleep, but research suggests most attacks take place in the early hours of the morning. Your circadian rhythm tends to boost your blood pressure in the morning to prepare your body for the day ahead, which can lead to additional stress on the heart.
Inputs by Dr. Rahul Gupta, Consultant, Interventional Cardiology, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.