What to do if you or someone else may be having a heart attack –
- Call 911 or your local emergency number. Don’t ignore the symptoms of a heart attack. If you can’t get an ambulance or emergency vehicle to come to you, have a neighbor or a friend drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only if you have no other option. Because your condition can worsen, driving yourself puts you and others at risk.
- Chew and swallow an aspirin while waiting for emergency help. Aspirin helps keep your blood from clotting. When taken during a heart attack, it could reduce heart damage. Don’t take aspirin if you are allergic to it or have been told by your health care provider never to take aspirin.
- Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed. If you think you’re having a heart attack and your health care provider has previously prescribed nitroglycerin for you, take it as directed while waiting for emergency medical help.
- Begin CPR if the person is unconscious. If the person isn’t breathing or you don’t find a pulse, begin CPR to keep blood flowing after you call for emergency medical help. Push hard and fast on the center of the person’s chest in a fairly rapid rhythm — about 100 to 120 compressions a minute.
- If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is immediately available and the person is unconscious, follow the device instructions for using it.
How is a heart attack immediately treated?
Medications – Medications to treat a heart attack might include:
Aspirin. Aspirin reduces blood clotting. It helps keep blood moving through a narrowed artery. If you called 911 or your local emergency number, you may be told to chew aspirin. Emergency medical providers may give you aspirin immediately. Clot busters (thrombolytics or fibrinolytics). These drugs help break up any blood clots that are blocking blood flow to the heart. The earlier a thrombolytic drug is given after a heart attack, the less the heart is damaged and the greater the chance of survival. Other blood-thinning medications. A medicine called heparin may be given by IV or injection. Heparin makes the blood less sticky and less likely to form clots. Nitroglycerin. This medication widens the blood vessels. It helps improve blood flow to the heart. Nitroglycerin is used to treat sudden chest pain (angina). It’s given as a pill under the tongue, as a pill to swallow or as an injection. Morphine. This medicine is given to relieve chest pain that doesn’t go away with nitroglycerin. Beta blockers. These medications slow the heartbeat and decrease blood pressure. Beta blockers can limit the amount of heart muscle damage and prevent future heart attacks. They are given to most people who are having a heart attack. ACE inhibitors. These drugs lower blood pressure and reduce stress on the heart. Statins. These drugs help lower unhealthy cholesterol levels. Too much bad (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) cholesterol can clog arteries.
How do you treat a heart attack alone?
What should you do if you think you’re having a heart attack when you’re alone? If you’re alone and experience any of the above heart attack symptoms, call 911 right away. Take aspirin if you have it on hand. Then, unlock your front door and lie down near it, so EMS workers can easily find you.
What is the 1st thing to do when one is experiencing a heart attack * Your answer?
1. The person may have persistent, vice-like chest pain, which may spread to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. This pain happens because a blockage stops blood getting to the heart muscle. The pain will not ease with rest.2. Call 999 as soon as possible.
- If you can’t call 999, get someone else to do it.
- The person needs medical help as soon as possible.
- A heart attack can be very serious and needs immediate attention.3.
- Help the person to sit down.
- Ensure they are comfortable – for example, sitting on the floor and leaning against a chair or a wall.
- Sitting will ease the strain on the heart.
Sitting them on the floor also means they are less likely to hurt themselves if they collapse.4. Reassure them while you wait for the ambulance.
Can heart attack recover by itself?
Can your heart fully recover after a heart attack? – Your heart can recover from a heart attack, but it takes time. And the heart attack will likely leave some damage that doesn’t go away, in the form of scar tissue. The amount of heart damage varies according to:
The timing of treatment, The sooner you receive treatment, the less damage to your heart. The location of the blockage, Your coronary arteries supply blood to different areas of your heart. When a blockage happens in one artery, the specific area it supplies becomes deprived of blood. So, the extent of heart damage depends on where the blockage happens, and how much of your heart muscle that artery normally supplies.
It may take about two months for your heart muscle to heal. But the scar tissue that remains can weaken your heart’s pumping ability. Over time, this can lead to heart failure or other complications. Talk to your provider about the extent of heart damage and what you can expect going forward.
How do I know if I’m having a heart attack?
Symptoms of a heart attack – Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- chest pain – a feeling of pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across your chest
- pain in other parts of the body – it can feel as if the pain is spreading from your chest to your arms (usually the left arm, but it can affect both arms), jaw, neck, back and tummy
- feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- shortness of breath
- feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)
- an overwhelming feeling of anxiety (similar to a panic attack)
- coughing or wheezing
The chest pain is often severe, but some people may only experience minor pain, similar to indigestion. While the most common symptom in both men and women is chest pain, women are more likely to have other symptoms such as shortness of breath, feeling or being sick and back or jaw pain.
How long can a heart attack last?
Mild heart attack symptoms might only occur for two to five minutes then stop with rest. A full heart attack with complete blockage lasts much longer, sometimes for more than 20 minutes.
Why does 2 aspirin help heart attacks?
Aspirin works on platelets by stopping their clotting action. Since blood clots can block the arteries that supply blood to your heart, the anti-clotting action of aspirin means blood can flow more easily while you seek further medical help to take care of the blockage.
How do you stop a heart attack in progress?
– It is not possible to stop a heart attack if one is already in progress. The only way to stop a heart attack is to seek emergency medical attention. Some people say that coughing will help to stop a heart attack by keeping the blood flowing. However, the American Heart Association does not endorse this method.
Can you survive heart attack without treatment?
Complications – During a heart attack, blood flow to the heart stops due to a blockage in a coronary artery. These are the arteries that carry blood to the heart. If a person does not receive immediate treatment, this lack of blood flow can cause damage to the heart. Complications arising from this situation include:
Arrhythmias : These are abnormal heartbeats. Cardiogenic shock : This refers to severe damage to the heart muscle. Heart failure : This occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood around the body efficiently.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), many people die suddenly from such complications — some before they reach hospital and others within the first month of having a heart attack. The longer a heart attack is left untreated, the more damage that occurs and the worse the outcome becomes.
What do hospitals do for heart attacks?
What to Expect When You Arrive – Emergency rooms treat the most serious illnesses first. If you arrive with symptoms of a heart attack, they’ll see you quickly. Doctors will work to confirm your diagnosis, relieve your symptoms, and treat the problem. Depending upon your symptoms, you may have one or more of the following:
Medical history Physical exam Intravenous (IV) fluidsAn electrocardiogram (EKG) to diagnose a heart attackElectrocardiographic (EKG) monitoring to screen for abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias Blood tests to confirm a heart attackMedications, such as nitroglycerin, aspirin, and clot-busting drugsOxygenCardiac catheterization, which involves threading a flexible tube into the heart from a blood vessel in the wrist or groin to open a blocked artery
Be prepared to answer a lot of questions, including ones about:
Your painPast and current health problems, including any history of heart diseaseRisk factorsYour lifestyle habits, including if you smoke, drink, or use recreational drugsMedicines you’re taking now, both prescription and over-the-counterDietary and herbal supplements you’re taking.Any allergies you have, especially ones to medications
When should you go to the hospital for a heart attack?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Approximately 805,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. Knowing the signs of trouble and getting emergency medical help immediately can dramatically increase your chances of survival and recovery.
- A heart attack is not always a sudden, deadly event.
- Often it is an evolving process during which a clot forms in an artery of the heart, depriving the heart of blood and oxygen.
- The longer the heart attack process continues, the more permanent damage is done to otherwise healthy heart muscle.
- Lay rescuers can be trained to operate portable, computerized, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) used to apply electric shock to restart a heart that has developed a chaotic rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest.
Many people ignore the warning signs of a heart attack or wait until their symptoms become unbearable before seeking medical help. Others wait until they are absolutely sure it’s a heart attack because they worry they will look foolish if it is a false alarm.
- These reactions can result in dangerous delays.
- Only skilled medical professionals can determine if someone is having a heart attack.
- Your responsibility is to recognize the warning signs and act quickly.
- If you are having a heart attack, you may be moved from the emergency department to a catheterization lab to receive angioplasty or a stent, or possibly heart bypass surgery.
In addition, hospitals have lifesaving medications that are designed to stop a heart attack by dissolving the clot and restoring blood flow to the heart, although these medications work best when given within the first one or two hours after the onset of heart attack symptoms, when the damage is still limited.
Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing sensation or pain in the center of the chest, lasting more than a few minutes, or it goes away and comes back. Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, jaw, arms or back. Chest discomfort accompanied by lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
Some less common warning signs of heart attack that should be taken seriously — especially if they accompany any of the above symptoms — include:
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Abnormal chest pain (angina), stomach, or abdominal pain. (Symptoms may feel like indigestion or heartburn.) Nausea or dizziness. Unexplained anxiety, weakness, or fatigue. Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness.
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. Women are more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. If you suspect someone is having a heart attack:
Call 911 or your emergency services number immediately. Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives. Do not attempt to drive the person to the hospital; if his or her condition should worsen, there is nothing you can do to help while driving. After 911 is called, the EMS dispatcher will likely give pre-arrival instructions (when appropriate) for the administration of aspirin (not acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen) and nitroglycerin (if prescribed) while emergency-response units are enroute to the scene The ideal aspirin dose in such instances is two to four baby aspirin or one full or extra strength tablet (325 or 500mg), and chewing helps get the aspirin into the bloodstream faster than swallowing it whole. (The patient should not be given aspirin if his or her physician has advised otherwise, e.g., because of allergies or possible harmful interactions with other medications or known disease complications). If the person is conscious, keep the person calm and help him or her into a comfortable position. The victim should stop all physical activity, lie down, loosen clothing around the chest area, and remain calm until the ambulance arrives. If the person becomes unconscious, make sure the person is lying on his or her back. Clear the airway and loosen clothing at the neck, chest and waist. Check for breathing and pulse; if absent, and if trained to do so, begin CPR,
Anyone who thinks they’re having a medical emergency should not hesitate to seek care. Federal law ensures that anyone who comes to the emergency department is treated and stabilized, and that their insurance provides coverage based on symptoms, not a final diagnosis. Read more Know When to Go Elderly Care Heart Know When to Go Public Education
How do hospitals treat a heart attack?
Common heart attack types and treatments – The type of heart attack (also called myocardial infarction, or MI) you experienced determines the treatments that your medical team will recommend. A heart attack occurs when a blockage in one or more coronary arteries reduces or stops blood flow to the heart, which starves part of the heart muscle of oxygen. The blockage might be complete or partial:
A complete blockage of a coronary artery means you suffered a “STEMI” heart attack or ST-elevation myocardial infarction. A partial blockage is an “NSTEMI” heart attack or a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction
Treatments differ for a STEMI versus NSTEMI heart attack, although there can be some overlap. Hospitals commonly use techniques to restore blood flow to part of the heart muscle damaged during a heart attack:
You might receive clot-dissolving drugs (thrombolysis), balloon angioplasty (PCI), surgery or a combination of treatments. About 36 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are equipped to use a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a mechanical means of treating heart attack.
At a hospital equipped to administer PCI, you would likely be sent to a department that specializes in cardiac catheterization, sometimes called a “cath lab.” There, a diagnostic angiogram can examine blood flow to your heart and reveal how well your heart is pumping.
- Depending on the results of that procedure, you may be routed to one of three treatments: medical therapy only, PCI or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).
- A hospital that not equipped to perform PCI might transfer you to one that is.
- Or, your medical team may decide to administer drugs known as fibrinolytic agents to restore blood flow.
You might be given an angiography (an imaging technique used to see inside your arteries, veins and heart chambers), possibly followed by an invasive procedure called revascularization to restore blood circulation in your heart. If the hospital determines you had an NSTEMI heart attack, doctors typically use one of two treatment strategies.
The ischemia-guided strategy uses various drugs (antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants) to inhibit blood clot formation. The early invasive strategy will start with the use of various drugs (antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants) to inhibit blood clot formation, but might also proceed to a medical therapy, a PCI with stenting or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), followed by certain types of post-hospital care.
Your doctor and other members of your healthcare team can explain the approach to your heart attack treatment. They can answer any specific questions you might have.
What is the fastest way to know if your having a heart attack?
Catch the signs early – Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort. Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
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