Get Treatment For Heart Attack

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Why Choose Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Heart Attack Treatment?

A heart attack is a medical emergency and the team of skillful and talented medical professionals at Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital is ready to quickly provide you with the healthcare and treatment you need if you are suffering from this condition. By employing state-of-the-art technology and the most effective medication available, they will be able to timely diagnose and promptly treat your heart attack with minimal risks of complications. If you choose our hospital for the treatment of a heart attack, you will receive the healthcare you need in a calm and compassionate environment, as we always strive to create a comfortable atmosphere for our patients.

Also known as myocardial infarction, a heart attack occurs when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly and severely reduced or cut off, causing the muscle to die from lack of oxygen. Every year, over 1 million people in the United States experience a heart attack and for a significant number of these individuals, this is the first symptom of coronary artery disease. Throughout the country, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds, which is very alarming.

When a heart attack occurs, the patient must receive healthcare within the shortest time possible so as to avoid the risk of serious complications, such as heart rupture, cardiogenic shock, and heart failure. The more time that passes without appropriate treatment to restore normal blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle. In some cases, a plaque can rupture and forms a clot that will subsequently cause the blockage of blood flow to the heart. Regardless of the cause, people who are experiencing a heart attack must immediately seek medical attention.

It is worthy of note that 50% of the deaths caused by a heart attack occur within the first 3 to 4 hours from the event. Thereby, it is essential that a heart attack is treated as a medical emergency. The sooner the patient receives treatment, the better their prognosis will be. It was found that chewing aspirin pills as soon as the symptoms of a heart attack begin may reduce the size of the blood clot that caused it. Oftentimes, people who are experiencing a heart attack will be given oxygen to avoid further damage to the heart tissue. Furthermore, people with a heart attack may be administered a beta-blocker to slow their heart rate so that their heart tissue will not be severely affected. Once they arrive at the hospital, people who are experiencing a heart attack will be admitted to the cardiac care unit, where their heart rhythm, blood pressure and the amount of oxygen in their blood will be closely monitored so that heart damage can be precisely assessed.

After their admission to the cardiac care unit, people with a heart attack will be administered drugs intravenously within the first 6 hours, whose purpose is to dissolve the blood clots that are blocking normal blood flow to the heart. However, some patients may require angioplasty to treat their heart attack, which involves surgically restoring blood flow to the arteries. If the blockages are extensive, the patient will undergo coronary artery bypass. Following the first 6 hours from a heart attack, the damage caused by it to the heart tissue is permanent. The chances of surviving a heart attack can improve when the person recognizes the symptoms early and seeks immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, 1 out of every 10 people who experience a heart attack dies within a year, usually within the first three to four months. After the heart attack, you may be required to undergo additional tests and exams, as well as to take certain medication, such as:

  • wearing a Holter monitor for permanent monitoring of the electrical activity of the heart
  • undergoing a stress test
  • taking medication such as aspirin, beta-blockers, or ACE inhibitors
  • undergoing coronary angioplasty
  • having bypass surgery
  • lowering your cholesterol levels

However, there are numerous other medications that have proven to be very effective in treating a heart attack, as well as in preventing another, such as:

  • thrombolytics: also known as clot busters, these drugs will quickly dissolve a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to your heart and the earlier you receive thrombolytics after a heart attack, the greater your chances of survival will be
  • antiplatelet agents: platelet aggregation inhibitors will help prevent new blood clots from forming and will also keep existing blood clots from increasing in size
  • blood-thinning medication: heparin is such a drug, whose purpose is to make your blood thinner so that the chances of blood clots forming will be smaller
  • pain relievers: because heart attacks are often associated with severe chest pain, you may also be prescribed a strong pain reliever such as morphine
  • nitroglycerin: this medication is used to alleviate chest pain following a heart attack, but it also improves blood flow to the heart by widening your blood vessels
  • statins: this is a drug that you may be prescribed to keep your cholesterol levels under control, as high cholesterol can easily lead to another heart attack

Finally, after experiencing a heart attack, you may be recommended to undergo cardiac rehabilitation, which focuses on medication, lifestyle changes, emotional issues, and a gradual return to your regular activities. Participating in this program is crucial, as medical studies found that people with a history of heart attacks live longer if they engage in cardiac rehabilitation.

Depending on the cause, there are 3 types of heart attack, namely:

  • ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: this is the most acute symptom of coronary artery disease and is often associated with high morbidity and mortality
  • non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction: this heart attack is less damaging to your heart than the former
  • coronary spasm or unstable angina: if a coronary spasm lasts for a long time, it may result in a heart attack

Symptoms of Heart Attack

Timely recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack is fundamental in receiving the healthcare you need promptly, which will increase your chances of survival. The following are the most common symptoms of a heart attack:

  • faintness
  • sudden sweating
  • nausea
  • shortness of breath, especially in the elderly
  • heavy pounding of the heart
  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • loss of consciousness
  • feelings of restlessness, sweatiness, anxiety, and a sense of impending doom
  • bluishness of the lips, hands, or feet
  • the elderly may have symptoms that are similar to those of a stroke and may become disoriented

Diagnosis of Heart Attack

Since a heart attack can be fatal, men who are older than 35 and women who are older than 50 and experience chest pain need to seek medical attention immediately, as this may be the first symptom of a heart attack. Nevertheless, chest pain may have other causes, such as pneumonia, a blood clot in the lung, pericarditis, a rib fracture, spasm of the esophagus, indigestion, or chest muscle tenderness after injury or exertion. The occurrence of a heart attack can be confirmed within several hours by employing the following diagnostic tests and exams:

  • electrocardiography: as a quick, safe, and painless test, electrocardiography has the purpose of monitoring your heart rhythm, determining whether you have poor blood flow to the heart, identifying a thickened heart muscle, and pinpointing electrolyte abnormalities
  • blood tests: the blood tests used to diagnose a heart attack measure the levels of serum markers in your blood, which are released into the blood when the heart is not functioning properly, such as in the case of a heart attack
  • echocardiography: this test uses high-frequency sound waves that will provide your doctor with clear images of your heart, which will help them diagnose a potential heart attack
  • radionuclide imaging: as another imaging technique, radionuclide entails the use of a small dose of a radioactive chemical known as isotope that can help your physician detect any potential abnormalities of your heart
  • chest X-ray: by employing a chest X-ray, the doctor will be able to see the size of your heart and your blood vessels, as well as whether you have fluid in your lungs as a result of a heart attack
  • CT or MRI scan: these imaging tests can offer very clear images of the inside of your body, which will help your doctor assess the damage caused by a heart attack to your heart

When it comes to heart attacks, there are certain risk factors that you cannot control, but there are also some that you can, such as:

  • smoking: throughout the country, tobacco smoking is responsible for 33% of deaths caused by heart disease, including heart attacks
  • high blood cholesterol: the risk of developing coronary heart diseases increases with the amount of cholesterol in your blood
  • lack of physical activity: people who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to experience a heart attack than physically active individuals
  • high blood pressure: because high blood pressure often increases the workload of the heart, the risk of a heart attack is greater in people with this condition
  • obesity: people who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of coming to struggle with heart disease, which can eventually lead to a heart attack
  • diabetes: over 68% of people who have diabetes and are over the age of 65 lose their lives to a form of heart disease, including a heart attack
  • stress: experiencing a lot of stress in your daily life increases your risk of suffering a heart attack
  • alcohol consumption: drinking heavily increases your blood pressure, which can eventually result in a heart attack
  • diet: if you do not have a healthy and balanced diet, which refers to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, your risk of experiencing a heart attack increases

While it is true that if you have a family history of heart disease you have more chances of experiencing a heart attack, there are many risk factors that you can avoid to decrease your chances of having a heart attack, such as:

  • quitting smoking
  • lowering high blood cholesterol
  • treating high blood pressure
  • maintaining a healthy weight for your height
  • keeping diabetes under control with appropriate medication
  • lowering the amount of stress you experience on a daily basis
  • drinking alcohol in moderation
  • having a healthy, balanced diet

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