Can a heart attack be caused by an acute stress reaction?

Yes. It has to do with catecholamines - stress hormones. I had an elderly lady patient who had a heart attack upon being told that her cat had died.
Three ways. Takotsubo stuns the heart and renders part of it non-functional. It's seldom fatal. If a person has stress that raises blood pressure and cracks an atherosclerotic plaque, or causes a rhythm problem in a heart that's not getting enough blood due to bad coronary arteries, it was going to happen soon anyway.

Related Questions

How to know if a heart attack was caused by an acute stress reaction?

Perhaps. Not the usual, but in the setting of smoking, obesity hyperlipidemia diabetes sedentary life style some additional stress can precipitate. Read more...
Stress on heart. Acute stress reaction due to a major stress can increase blood pressure which can affect the heart. Other conditions such as Diabetes, Hyperlipidemia are also risk factors for heart attack. Please follow through with your Cardiologist and see a Psychiatrist for acute stress. Read more...

Do coronary spasms caused by stress in an extremely healthy person cause a heart attack?

Possible. It's possible, and it's reported, but it's very, very rare. If you've had a heart attack, i would look for the more common cause (underlying atherosclerosis). If you haven't had a heart attack, i surely wouldn't lose sleep worrying about one since you're "an extremely healthy person.". Read more...

Getting a stress echo done next week. Can thallium (cardiolite) cause a heart attack or is it the actual activity that can cause ha during testing?

No. Thallium injection should not cause any heart attack. Usually with activity patient may complain of chest pain and you are being monitored very closely for any rhythm changes. Heart attack during stress test can occur but very rare. If stress test activity can cause a person heart attack then he can develop heart attack any day with more than usual activity. You are young and should be fine. Read more...
Stress testing. The circulation of the heart is evaluated by stress testing. Walking on a treadmill or injection of medicine has the effect of stressing the heart muscle. Sometimes additional information is obtained by simultaneously imaging the heart using ultrasound or injecting a nuclear isotope and scanning the heart with a special nuclear camera. The tests are safe and provide very useful information. Read more...

Does too much stress cause heart failure and a heart attack?

There is a known. Entity called: apical ballooning, takotsubo's or "broken heart" syndrome which can reduce heart function and mimic a heart attack which is a stress mediated process occurring due to adrenergic overload. It is treated with beta blockers & is fairly rare. Read more...

How does increased heart rate due to stress result in a heart attack?

Increased rate. Your heart needs blood to function, if it's working harder, it needs more oxygen. If your heart blood vessels can't deliver the extra oxygen, areas of your heart become. Read more...

Might it be possible that a a lot of anxiety and stress cause a heart attack in a person with a healthy heart?

Not directly. Anxiety and stress can cause arrhythmias, including serious ones that may be life threatening, but those are not technically a heart attack. Psychosocial stresses often are associated with poor lifestyle habits (diet, weight, lack of exercise, cigarette use) that may contribute to heart attack risks. Read more...
Rare. Pts with an acute or traumatic life altering event has been known to cause chest pain ekg changes and a wall motion abnormality in the front of the heart on echo . The cardiac enzymes will rise as well . When a heart cath is done no blockage is found . This has been dubbed " broken heart syndrome " . Presumeable cause is from the catacholamines ie adrenaline rush that affects the heart . Read more...