A heart attack occurs when a blood vessel on the surface of the heart (coronary artery) is blocked and interrupts blood supply to the heart muscle. This causes that area of the heart muscle to permanently scar. This blockage may be caused by cholesterol buildup (atherosclerotic plaque) within a coronary artery. The plaque cracks which creates a rough surface where blood cells attach, forming a clot.
Chest discomfort that happens with exertion and goes away with rest is called angina. This is a warning signal that blood flow to the heart is not enough. Angina that does not go away or becomes worse may mean that there is actual heart damage and a scar may form.
ST elevation refers to waveforms seen on …show more content…
Feeling faint, weak or light-headed.
Feeling sick to your stomach.
Loss of normal color.
A combination of your history, an exam, EKG findings and blood work results determine if you have had a heart attack.
It is very important to seek medical care right away for episodes of chest pain. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you may return to your normal activities. If a large area of heart muscle lacks oxygen and medical care is not provided; a weak heart muscle, heart failure or sudden death may result.
WHAT MAY HAPPEN IF A HEART ATTACK IS SUSPECTED
Aspirin may be given, if you are able to take it. This makes your blood "thinner" (less likely to clot).
Thrombolytics ("clot busters") may be given as long as it is safe and if a cardiac cath lab is not available.
A heart monitor will display the electrical activity of your heart to check for abnormal beats or rhythm.
An EKG is a painless procedure that gives information about areas of heart muscle that may be injured.
Your blood oxygen level may be monitored by a painless sensor attached to your finger or ear.
Blood tests are used to find out whether the heart muscle has been …show more content…
This is a procedure where blocked arteries are bypassed with small veins from your legs or arteries from inside your chest wall. If important arteries are involved, or if your chest pain continues, this may be the best method to make ensure your long-term survival.
ABOUT YOUR HOSPITAL STAY
While you are in the hospital, you may be placed on a low salt, low fat diet and given a stool softener. The stool softener will keep you from straining during a bowel movement.
Oxygen may be given to increase oxygen delivery to the heart.
Medications may be prescribed, while in the hospital, to help your heart and lungs work better.
Before discharge from the hospital, a stress test may be performed. In this test, an ECG measures how well your heart works with exercise. The test may be done while you are walking on a treadmill, using a stationary bicycle or after being given medications to make your heart beat faster. It can be used to judge the safety of your proposed activity levels. It may provide a starting point for your exercise program.
HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Follow the treatment plan your caregiver prescribes.
Carry medications, such as nitroglycerine, with you at all times, if directed.
Make a list of every medicine you are taking. Keep it up-to-date and with you all the