Heart attack

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Heart attack

Heart attack refers to the sudden blockage of one of the major arteries of the heart, due to a clot or rupture of a fatty deposit layer on the arterial walls. The disruption of blood supply to an area of heart muscle causes damage to that area of musculature, which, in case the patient survives, is replaced by scar tissue.

How to recognize ?

  • Crushing pain radiating from the heart which does not ease with rest, and may even start during rest.
  • Indigestion like abdominal discomfort.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Fainting and giddiness.
  • Pale skin and bluish lips.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Anxiety.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diabetic patients with nerve damage (Autonomic neuropathy) may not feel any pain. They may only experience sweating, palpitation, breathlessness, shock, etc.

First Aid

  • Immediate medical aid, especially if available within the first 1 – 3 hours, or at least 6 hours, may help to salvage a lot of heart muscle before irreversible damage is done. Call a Cardiac center for a cardiac ambulance if available. Hospitalize him as fast as possible: minutes count.
  • If the victim is carrying a medicine for angina which has been prescribed by the doctor, make the him / her take the medicine in the prescribed dose.
  • Also, if available, and if there is a definite history of angina pain in the past, give the patient half a tablet of dispersible or chewable aspirin (remember, only half a tablet) with a little milk or food (it prevents blood clot from progressing – a vital part of heart attack therapy) followed by a tablet of isosorbide dinitrate 5 mg to suck (not to be swallowed). Repeat the latter every 15 minutes either till there is relief of pain or there is a headache or a doctor arrives or you arrive with the patient at the hospital.
  • Make the victim sit up in a propped up position or on a chair.
  • Ensure fresh air and proper ventilation in the room.
  • Keep the victim calm and as relaxed as possible.
  • Don’t listen to him when he says he is all right and that there is no need to call for a doctor.

CAUTIONS:

  • Do not give aspirin to a patient having a history of acute peptic dyspepsia, peptic ulcers, acute gastritis or bleeding disorders. Do not give aspirin on empty stomach