Heart Attack Treatments

A person with an acute heart attack should receive medical care immediately. In this situation, every minute can make the difference between life and death. If the person can get early treatment form medical personnel even before getting to the hospital, the person may have better chance of survival.cardiovascular diseaseEarly treatment for a heart attack is aimed to prevent further heart muscle damage by opening the blocked artery and restore blood flow to the heart muscle as quickly as possible. If a person is suspected to have a heart attack, certain treatments can be started right away even before the diagnosis is confirmed. These treatments include:

  • Oxygen therapy to increase the supply of oxygen to the heart’s muscle.
  • Treatment for chest pain.
  • Aspirin to thin the blood and prevent further blood clotting.
  • Nitroglycerin to treat chest pain (angina) and improve blood flow through the coronary arteries.

Heart attack treatment at the hospital may vary depending on the severity of the condition. The patient may be treated with medications, undergo an operation, or both.

Here are medications and other procedures that can be applied to treat a heart attack:

  • Anticoagulant medications to prevent growth of blood clots in the arteries.
  • Antiplatelet medications to prevent formation of blood clots in the arteries.
  • Pain relievers, such as morphine, to reduce your discomfort due to chest pain.
  • Beta blockers to reduce the heart’s workload, help relax the heart muscle, treat irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). Beta blockers can limit the amount of heart muscle damage and prevent future heart attacks.
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications like statins, niacin, fibrates and bile acid sequestrants may help improve survival if given soon after a heart attack.
  • ACE inhibitors to lower blood pressure and reduce strain on the heart. They also help slow down further weakening of the heart muscle.
  • Coronary angioplasty and stenting. Angioplasty is a nonsurgical procedure that opens blocked or narrowed coronary arteries, letting blood flow more freely to your heart. A thin, flexible tube (catheter) with a balloon is inserted through a blood vessel to the narrowed or blocked coronary artery. Once in position, the balloon is inflated to open up a blocked coronary artery. This restores blood flow through the artery. During the procedure, the doctor may insert a small mesh tube called a stent in the artery to keep it open in a long term. The stent helps prevent blockages in the artery in the months or years after angioplasty.
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery. The doctor may perform bypass surgery at the time of a heart attack or after the heart has had time to recover from heart attack. During the surgery, a surgeon removes a healthy artery or vein and then connect (or graft) it to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery bypasses the blocked portion of the coronary artery, providing a new route for blood flow to the heart.


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