How Do You Treat A Heart Attack?

The immediate focus of treatment for a heart attack is to restore blood flow to the heart. How do you treat a heart attack can depend on what is necessary to restore blood flow. During a heart attack, the timing of the treatment is crucial. A person needs to seek emergency medical treatment as soon as a heart attack is suspected.

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A heart attack is caused by a blood clot obstructing the blood flow in a narrowed artery to the heart. The arteries most often become narrowed due to the buildup of cholesterol plaque. Treatment for a heart attack usually begins with the administration of oxygen and aspirin to prevent more blood clots.

Other medication to restore blood flow to the heart may be given. Nitroglycerin may be given. Since heart attacks can be extremely painful, pain medication may also be administered. These heart attack treatments are often given before a heart attack has been confirmed by the physician. This shows how important early treatment is for heart attacks. It’s better to start treatment and be wrong about it being a heart attack than to wait for confirmation from the physician and diagnostic tests.

Once a heart attack is confirmed, more treatments may be given. Other medications like clot-busting medication are used to restore blood flow. The clot-busting medication is called thrombolytic medication. These medications must be given within an hour of the onset of the heart attack in order to be most effective.

Surgical treatment for heart attack may be used. An angioplasty is used to make a larger opening in the blocked artery to the heart. A catheter with a balloon on the end in inserted in a vein and navigated to the blocked artery. At the site of the blockage, the balloon is inflated to push the plaque against the artery walls. In some cases, a metal, mesh tube is placed in the area of the blockage to help keep the artery clear.

Coronary bypass surgery is another surgical treatment for blocked coronary arteries. With bypass surgery, veins from other areas of the body are grafted around the blockage to allow blood to travel around the blockage.

Heart attack treatment does not stop once blood flow is restored. People who have had a heart attack are at risk of having future heart attacks. Therefore, the doctor may encourage the patient to receive rehabilitation and patient education about recovering and preventing more heart attacks. Aftercare treatment can include medication, exercise, and nutritional counseling.

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