Third universal definition of myocardial infarction
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Last updated:24th Aug 2012
Myocardial infarction (MI) can be recognised by clinical features, including electrocardiographic (ECG) findings, elevated values of biochemical markers (biomarkers) of myocardial necrosis, and by imaging, or may be defined by pathology. It is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. MI may be the first manifestation of coronary artery disease (CAD) or it may occur, repeatedly, in patients with established disease. Information on MI rates can provide useful information regarding the burden of CAD within and across populations, especially if standardized data are collected in a manner that distinguishes between incident and recurrent events. From the epidemiological point of view, the incidence of MI in a population can be used as a proxy for the prevalence of CAD in that population. The term ‘myocardial infarction’ may have major psychological and legal implications for the individual and society. It is an indicator of one of the leading health problems in the world and it is an outcome measure in clinical trials, observational studies and quality assurance programmes. These studies and programmes require a precise and consistent definition of MI.