Most people don’t comprehend that they are having a heart attack or a heart disease in general until they have chest pain (angina or a heart attack). With each passing minute after a heart attack, the heart tissue loses oxygen and deteriorates or dies an irreversible death. Therefore, one should never ignore even the trivial heart attack symptoms. Urgent heart attack treatment can limit heart damage and saves lives.
Heart Attack Diagnosis and Tests
If you are worried about the risk of heart attack, see a cardiologist or health practitioner as soon as possible. Following a visit to the doctor, the heart attack will be diagnosed by testing the patient’s heart’s performance by using the following tests:
- Echocardiogram: This uses sound vibrations to create images of the internal structure of the heart. Along with images of the internal functioning of the heart, the blood flow noises
are also captured in this test.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): This relies on the passage of electric signals in the heart and reads the heart’s movements in the form of electrical signs on a monitor.
- Other physical examinations used to diagnose heart attacks are MRI scan, CAT scan, PET scan, and X-ray.
- Exercise Stress also helps to diagnose any coronary heart disorders.
- Blood tests to check cardiac enzymes in blood
- Cardiovascular catheterization for internal viewing of blocked or unblocked channels)
- Angioplasty is often carried out in combination with catheterization.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed or strongly suspected, doctors start the suitable heart attack treatment immediately. The main aim is to try to restore blood flow through the blood vessels supplying the heart.
Dr. Rajiv Mehrotra talks about heart attack treatment and diagnosis in the following video
Heart Attack Treatments
If you or anybody you know encounters a heart attack, the best step to take is to get the patient to the nearest emergency room. Heart attack needs to be treated immediately.
Treatment of heart attack is aimed towards unblocking the clogged artery to enable a free flow of blood back in the heart to reduce muscle death. This is achieved at a trusted hospital using a combination of following methods:
- Antiplatelet medications like glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors and aspirin that prevent blood clot formation in the coronary arteries
- Anticoagulant medications like heparin, warfarin and direct thrombin inhibitors that prevent blood clot growth in the coronary arteries
- Medications like nitroglycerin, angiotensin and beta blockers that decrease stress on the heart’s muscle thereby reducing oxygen requirement
- Medications that control abnormal heart rhythms
- Medications for dissolving clots like TPK or TNK to open constricted or blocked arteries
- Coronary angiography is conducted followed by Percutaneous – Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) with/without stenting
- Supplemental oxygen provided externally into the heart area that increases supply of oxygen to the heart’s muscle
- Cardiac surgery i.e. heart bypass surgery
After your treatment for heart attack, you will be discharged from the hospital with due medications and follow up routines. It is ideal to visit your doctor once in a month after the treatment and go through necessary tests to understand if your heart is vulnerable to a second attack.
To learn, how to recover from a heart attack and also lowering its likelihood, go to How to Prevent Heart Attack article.