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Heart Attacks

Coronary arteries supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscles. Heart attacks occur when the blood and oxygen supply obstructs due to a blood clot in the coronary artery. Chest pain is the most common sign of heart attacks. But, it is not necessary that every chest pain that an individual experience will be a sign of heart attack. Heart failure and ventricular fibrillation are the two common complications of heart attacks. In short, heart attack (also known as Myocardial Infraction) is a medical condition caused due to the damage and death of heart muscles by a blockage in the coronary artery blood vessel.

Collections of plaque muscles of cholesterol create blockages in the coronary artery blood vessel. Apart from chest pain and pressure, other symptoms of heart attacks may include:

  • Fullness and squeezing sensation in the chest.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Upper back pain.
  • Sweating.
  • Arm pain (either in the left arm or both the arms).
  • General feeling of sickness.

Factors such as family history of heart disease, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, smoking etc., can increase the risk of getting heart attacks. It is important to seek the advice of the doctor when you notice any of these symptoms. ECG and blood tests and chest X-ray are the common diagnostic methods to detect heart attack.
If the patient seeks medical care during a heart attack, she/he may receive any of the following treatment options:

  • Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation(delete)
  • Manual chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth(delete)
  • Defibrillator( delete)
  • 300mg of Aspirin and high dose statin – 80 mg atorvastatin or 40 mg rosuvastatin
  • Sublingual followed by intravenous Nitrate
  • Thrombolytics or primary angioplasty (PAMI)
  • Painkillers

In patients with severe heart attack and cardiac arrest urgent cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is required along with use of defibrillator
In cardiogenic shock situations Intraaortic ballon pump treatment and if required ventilator support may have to be used

After the heart attack, the patient may receive following treatments to prevent future heart attacks:

  • Anti-platelets and aspirin
  • Beta-blockers
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Statins

Severe cases may require the following surgeries:

  • Angioplasty.
  • CABG.
  • Bone marrow stem cells.