NSTEMI, A Kind of Caution for Light Heart Attacks

NSTEMI (Non-ST-segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction) is a type of damage to the heart that does not cause abnormalities typical of the results of examination of the heart record. Although not as dangerous as STEMI (ST-segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction), this condition still needs to be watched out and handled carefully.


NSTEMI is a type of acute coronary syndrome. Acute coronary syndrome itself is a dangerous condition caused by a blockage in the arteries of the heart arteries. This blockage will make the heart lack of oxygen.
Acute coronary syndrome can be divided into three types, namely STEMI, NSTEMI, and unstable angina.

Difference between NSTEMI and other types of heart attacks

In general, the term "heart attack" usually refers to STEMI (ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction). This condition occurs when the arteries in the heart are completely blocked, causing the heart to lose blood and oxygen supply. STEMI will cause serious damage to the heart muscle.

Whereas in NSTEMI, the heart arteries are not completely blocked, so the damage to the heart muscle is not as heavy as when experiencing STEMI. NSTEMI is also more rare. The frequency of occurrence is only about 3 cases per 1000 people per year, or about 30% of the total cases of heart attacks.

Factors that can increase the risk of developing NSTEMI are the same as other types of heart attacks, namely genetic factors; unhealthy lifestyles, such as smoking and rarely moving; and certain diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes

How to diagnose NSTEMI

Heart attacks, both STEMI, NSTEMI, and unstable angina, have similar symptoms. One typical symptom is left chest pain that radiates to the arm, neck, or jaw. Other symptoms that may occur are shortness of breath, cold sweat, and dizziness.

The results of a physical examination on NSTEMI patients can also be the same as other types of heart attack patients. To determine the type of heart attack that occurs, the doctor will do an EKG (electrocardiogram). When performed ECG, NSTEMI will show a picture of blockage of blood flow to the heart without elevation of the ST segment.

The type of heart attack that will give a similar picture of the NSTEMI condition is unstable angina, so to distinguish it, it is necessary to have a blood test. In NSTEMI, blood tests will show an increase in cardiac biomarkers, compounds that are released into the blood when the heart is damaged.

Steps for Handling NSTEMI Heart Attack

Handling in NSTEMI aims to stabilize the patient's condition and prevent further damage to the heart. The handling steps can be:

Giving oxygen

The first step is giving oxygen. The doctor will give oxygen to patients who have respiratory problems or potentially respiratory problems.

Giving medicine

Some drugs, such as antiplatelet, anticoagulant, beta blockers, statins, ACE inhibitors, and nitrates, may be given by doctors according to the conditions experienced by patients.

PCI or CABG procedure

If the NSTEMI condition is severe enough, your doctor may recommend a PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) procedure, which is a heart catheterization to place a ring on a blocked blood vessel. Doctors can also recommend a CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft) procedure, which is an operation to create a new blood flow route.

NSTEMI is one type of heart attack that needs to be treated immediately. Therefore, if you experience complaints of left chest pain that radiates to your left arm and neck, immediately consult a doctor to find out the cause and get the right treatment.