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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Cardiac Biomarkers. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Diagnosis of an Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI)

How is a heart attack diagnosed? Criteria for AMI are met when there is:
  1. A rise and/or fall of cardiac biomarkers (typically troponin)
  2. Symptoms (pain, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, tachycardia)
  3. Suggestive electrocardiographic (ECG) changes (or imaging evidence of new loss of viable myocardium or new regional wall motion abnormality)
If ischemia is present, necrosis will likely follow if the tissue is not oxygenated immediately. For this reason, cardiac testing is often ordered stat. In medicine there is a saying that "time is myocardium". In other words, the longer a patient waits before their coronary blood flow is restored, the more heart tissue will potential die. The more necrosis, the more morbidity and mortality is associated with the cardiac event.