Myocardial infarction treatment

Myocardial infarction is another name for a heart attack and it happens when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted, causing heart cells to die. The most common cause is due to a ruptured plaque from the artery walls that causes a blockage in the arteries leading to the heart. The result is an oxygen shortage and a restriction of blood supply. If it is left untreated, severe damage can occur to the heart muscle, or even death can occur. Treating a myocardial infarction is imperative to ensuring survival and helping to reverse the damage done by the heart attack.

Symptoms of a Myocardial Infarction
Although many myocardial infarctions are silent, or without symptoms, there are common symptoms that can result from such a condition.

  • Sudden chest pain, typically radiating from the left arm or left side of the neck
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety or feelings of impending doom
  • Often times women experience more symptoms than men

Treating a Myocardial Infarction

No matter the severity of the myocardial infarction, immediate medical attention is necessary. But of course any treatment is going to depend on how bad the heart attack was and how much damage was done before emergency medical attention was received. Typically, once the clogged artery that caused the heart attack is opened, the patient will feel some immediate, but not complete, relief. Further treatment involves preventing further complications and saving as much muscle and tissue as possible. Oxygen, aspirin, and nitroglycerin are administered as soon as possible. The following are immediate treatments that work with myocardial infarctions.

Antiplatelet Agents. Aspirin has been shown to successfully decrease the instance of mortality because it has an antiplatelet component to it, meaning it stops further formation of blood clots that clog the arteries. Chewing is the preferred method because of quicker absorption, but sometimes this is not always an option; dissolved soluble preparations can be useful as well. Other antiplatelet agents include clopidogrel.

Nitroglycerin. This type of medication is given under the tongue. Nitrous oxide is a vasodilator of blood vessels so more blood can flow freely through them.

Reperfusion. Reperfusion involves restoring blood and oxygen flow to an organ or tissue. With heart attacks, opening arteries and restoring flow to the heart muscle is the most important goal. This prevents any further damage due to oxygen deprivation and preserves the heart’s pumping action. Opening the blocked artery is typically done with angioplasty, which is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. A stent is usually placed after the artery is opened to keep it open.

Surgical Care. Sometimes, if a heart attack is severe, a bypass surgery may be required. In this case, it would be an emergency bypass surgery. These are quite common among those who have heart attacks.

Rehabilitation. This is a more long-term post heart attack treatment because it begins after the patient is stable. It involves the patient spending a few nights in a coronary care unit where he or she can be carefully monitored and healthcare professionals can administer antiarrhythmic agents. However, rehabilitation is more extensive in patients who have suffered from severe myocardial infarction.

Lifestyle Changes. After any sort of heart attack, the physician will recommend lifestyle changes. After all, in most cases, it is certain lifestyle choices that trigger heart attacks. These may include dieting, beginning an exercise program, stopping smoking, etc. Sometimes high cholesterol or high blood pressure may be the reason for a heart attack, and measures will be taken to lower either one of these.

Last updated on Oct 20th, 2010 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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