Treatments


What are the treatments for a heart attack? The faster the heart attack patient can be treated, the more successful his/her treatment will be. These days, the majority of heart attacks can be treated effectively. It is crucial to remember that the patient’s survival depends largely on how quickly he can be taken to hospital.   Treatment during a heart attack   CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation)   Some heart attack patients stop breathing; they do not move or respond when spoken to or touched, they may also be coughing. If this is the case CPR should be started straight away. This involves: 1. Manual chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth 2. 30 chest compressions to the heart 4. two mouth-to-mouth resuscitation breaths (mouth-to-mouth)   Defibrillator This is a CPS medical device. It sends electric shocks across the patient’s chest – the aim is to use electricity to shock the heart back into proper activity.   300mg of Aspirin A 300mg dose of aspirin is often given to patients during a heart attack. Aspirin will help stop the clot in the artery from growing.   Thrombolytics These dissolve the blood clots. These include alteplase and streptokinase. They should be injected into the patient as soon as possible. If the blood supply to the muscle can be restored soon enough, much of the affected heart muscle will survive.   Painkillers Morphine is sometimes injected into the patient to control the pain and discomfort. Experts say this also reduces anxiety.   Treatment after the heart attack   Most patients will need several different medications after their heart attack. The aim being to prevent future heart attacks from occurring.   Aspirin and other Anti-platelets Our blood has platelets. These are tiny particles that help the blood to clot. They can eventually, if they are very sticky, stick to fatty deposits, or plaques, and form a thrombosis. A thrombosis is a clot. A thrombosis in a coronary artery can cause a heart attack. Anti-platelets reduce the stickiness of the platelets.   Patients are often prescribed a daily 75mg dose of aspirin – this is called low-dose aspirin. Those who have stomach ulcers may be given medication to prevent the aspirin from damaging their stomachs. Patients who suffer from asthma may be prescribed clopidogrel, rather than aspirin.   Beta-blockers These drugs make the heart beat more slowly and with less force, thus easing the heart’s workload. They also stabilize the heart’s electrical activity. Examples include metoprolol, propranolol, timolol, and atenolol.   ACE (Angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors These drugs help ease the workload on the heart by opening up blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. Experts say ACE inhibitors also protect the heart from further damage. Patient will have a blood test to make sure their kidneys are working properly before starting on this type of medication. Then, about ten days after starting treatment, the patient will undergo further tests to make sure his/her kidneys are still working fine. Over a period of about 3 weeks the patient’s dose is gradually increased. Examples of ACE inhibitors include lisinopril, perindopril and ramipril.   Statins Statins make the liver produce less cholesterol, consequently lowering blood cholesterol levels. Patients with high cholesterol levels have a higher risk of developing fatty deposits in their blood vessels, especially their arteries. Statins include atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin.