Heart attacks are one of the most common causes of death in India. A heart attack (also known as myocardial infarction) is permanent damage or death of heart muscle due to the lack of supply of oxygen-rich blood. There are various reasons for the causes of heart attacks, though one of the most common is the result of coronary artery disease, where the coronary artery is narrowed or blocked due to the formation of plaque (cholesterol deposition) or blood clots.
Symptoms of Heart attacks are:
- Mild or severe pressure, pain, discomfort or heaviness in the chest, may or may not radiate to the left arm.
- Location of pain can be anywhere from the lower jaw to umbilicus but most commonly in the chest. Usually associated with sweating and restlessness.
- Irregular or rapid heartbeats
- A choking feeling
- Fatigue or extreme weakness, sometimes for days
- Shortness of breath or anxiety
Most of these symptoms of heart attacks last for thirty minutes or longer and are not relieved by nitro-glycerine under the tongue or by resting. Some people may not have any of the above symptoms, and may still experience a heart attack – known as the silent heart attack. This is more common in people with diabetes.
Treatment associated with Heart Attack:
Treatment of heart attacks should be started as soon as possible with the aim to prevent permanent damage to heart muscles. In case of major attacks (ST elevation myocardial infarction, STEMI), immediate opening of the blocked artery of heart should be initiated as early as possible. There are two methods to open blocked artery:
- Thrombolysis– Injection of clot-dissolving medicine (If facility of primary angioplasty is not available)
- Primary angioplasty (urgent angiography and angioplasty)- Opening of the blocked artery by special balloon followed by stent placement.
Any of the above treatment (depending upon the availability) should be initiated as soon as possible after chest pain and at least within 12 hrs of chest pain in case of major heart attacks. More the delay in starting the treatment more permanent irreversible damage to heart muscles. The benefit of treatment decreases as the time progresses. After 12 hrs of a heart attack, only angioplasty is recommended if chest pain persists.
So in cardiology “TIME IS MUSCLE”
If symptoms of heart attacks are present then immediately rush to hospital emergency and take the prompt decision of treatment after discussion with the doctor.