Widow Maker Heart Attack: Can You Survive One?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet heart attacks aren’t always fatal. The longer the heart is without oxygen, the more damage it suffers and in 30 minutes, a heart attack could cause irreversible damage to the heart. As a result, it is critical to understand the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Learn more about the widow maker type of heart attack and the survival rates by reading on.

What is a Widow Maker Heart Attack?

STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction), or a ‘widow maker’ heart attack, is the most fatal form of a heart attack. It is caused by a blockage of the most critical coronary artery, the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, that supplies oxygenated blood to the front, left side of the heart. If left untreated, the heart loses oxygen and vital nutrients, leading in cardiac muscle damage, heart failure, or death.

Can You Survive a Widow Maker Heart Attack?

Widow maker heart attacks aren’t always fatal. According to a 2018 study, the five-year survival rate for STEMI patients is 77%. Another 2020 study shows that the risk of death appears to be comparable to the general population after one year. The overall finding is that getting treatment right away greatly enhances the odds of surviving a widow maker heart attack. 

Preventing a Widow Maker Heart Attack

The early warning signs and symptoms are similar to that of a heart attack. They include chest discomfort, nausea, shortness of breath, or abrupt cardiac arrest. On the other hand, risk factors include smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol or blood pressure.

Heart attack survival rates have increased significantly in today’s modern era. Still, leading a healthy lifestyle and frequently monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help lower the risk of having a heart attack. 

If you experience any of the signs of a heart attack, make sure to call 9-1-1 immediately. Additionally, always consult your doctor about your heart health as well as always being informed on ways to lower the risks of a heart attack.