Silent ischemia is a condition where the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a part of the heart muscle is restricted. If the ischemia is severe or lasts too long, it can cause a heart attack and can lead to heart tissue death. This usually causes chest pain. In some cases, however, there is no pain. These cases are called silent ischemia.
Silent ischemia may also disturb the heart’s rhythm, interfere with the heart’s pumping ability and cause fainting or even sudden cardiac death.
People are at increased risk for silent ischemia if they have had a previous heart attack, coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, substance and alcohol abuse, smoke and are obese.