The heart is one of the largest muscles in the body. The wall of the heart is the muscle that does the pumping, and it is called the myocardium. In a heart attack, this muscle tissue is denied oxygen-carrying blood due to a blocked artery. When the shortage of oxygen gets so bad that many cells die, it's called infarction. The medical name for a heart attack is an acute myocardial infarction (MI).
Heart attack is directly responsible for about 10% of all deaths in Canada every year. This represents half of all deaths due to coronary artery disease. Although having a heart attack is very serious, the chances of survival are greatly increased if you are able to get to a hospital right away.