Sunday, August 24, 2008

What is a heart attack anyway?


  • A heart attack results when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle.
  • A heart attack causes death of part of the heart muscle.
  • The site of blood clot formation during a heart attack is usually a cholesterol plaque on the inner wall of a coronary artery.
  • A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
  • Electrical instability of the heart can cause life threatening abnormal heart rhythm.

Treatment of a heart attack may include:

  • Prompt administration of drugs to dissolve and prevent blood clots
  • Performance of angioplasty or intracoronary stenting to open an obstructed artery
  • Medications that open (dilate) blood vessels.
  • Early reopening of a blocked coronary artery reduces the amount of heart muscle damage, lessens the size of the heart attack, and improves prognosis.
  • Patients suffering a heart attack are hospitalized for several days to detect heart rhythm disturbance, and observe for shortness of breath, and chest pain.

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