What are the symptoms, causes and treatment of Heart Attack
What is Heart Attack?
Sudden pain or discomfort in the chest due to sudden loss of blood supply to the heart, results from blockage of the coronary arteries (blood vessel supplying blood to the heart).
What produces Heart Attack?
Blockage of blood supply to the heart occurs due to sudden spasm of the blood vessel or blood clot blocking the arteries or thickening of the arterial wall due to atherosclerosis (gradual deposition of fat on inner walls of blood vessels).
The symptoms felt by the patient.
The patient may have sudden pain under the sternum with excessive sweating. The pain may be of crushing type and may be felt in the left arm, neck, jaw or shoulder. Patient may have breathlessness and the patient may collapse. 20% of the patients may not feel the pain (Diabetic patients and elderly patients).
What to do?
- Call the ambulance and shift the patient to coronary care unit of a hospital.
- Make the patient sit in comfortable position.
- Ask the patient, if he is already on medication for heart attack. Give him nitro-glycerine or isosorbide dinitrate tablet to keep under the tongue.
- Make him chew or swallow aspirin tablet (avoid, if the patient is allergic to aspirin or having peptic ulcer.
- If the patient is unconscious, give cardiopulmonary resuscitation or give chest compressions at the rate of about 100 per minute until the arrival of the medical team.
Investigations to be done.
- ECG: (Electrocardiogram) ST elevation or depression may be seen. Q waves can be seen.
- Echocardiogram can be done to test the function of the heart and note regional wall motion abnormalities.
- Cardiac troponin and creatinine kinase test in blood, which may be elevated.
- Coronary angiogram after the patient becomes stable to diagnose the site of blockage.
Treatment given for Heart Attack
- Drugs like nitrates to dilate blood vessels.
- Injection Morphine to reduce pain.
- Oxygen through a nasal mask.
- Intravenous thrombolysis.
- Injection streptokinase or urokinase can be given to dissolve the clot.
- Coronary Angioplasty with stent insertion can be done.
- Coronary artery bypass grafting can be done.
Prevention of Heart Attack
- Stop smoking
- Lifestyle modification
- Low-fat Diet
Post infarction (Heart Attack) care
- Psychological counseling for anxiety and depression.
- Rehabilitation programs include exercise training, counseling occupational therapy to make the patient live independently.