How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed
When you arrive at the hospital, youll be asked about your symptoms and history of heart disease. Youll also be monitored and given these initial tests to see if youre having a heart attack:
An ECG can detect whether electrical signals from your heart are abnormal, indicating a heart attack in progress or evidence of an old heart attack.
Blood tests can detect proteins or enzymes that enter your bloodstream when your heart is damaged from a heart attack.
- Cardiac computerized tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging
When Do I Do If Someone Else Has A Heart Attack
An easy-to-use device called an AED is available in many public places and can be used by almost anyone to treat cardiac arrest. This device works by shocking the heart back into a normal rhythm.
Hereâs how to use an AED:
1. Check responsiveness
- For an adult or older child, shout and shake the person to confirm whether theyâre unconscious. Do not use AED on a conscious person.
- For an infant or young child, pinch their skin. Never shake a young child.
- Check breathing and pulse. If absent or uneven, prepare to use the AED as soon as possible.
2. Prepare to use AED
- Make sure the person is in a dry area and away from puddles or water.
- Check for body piercings or outline of an implanted medical device, such as a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator.
- AED pads must be placed at least 1 inch away from piercings or implanted devices.
3. Use AED
For newborns, infants, and children up to age 8, use a pediatric AED, if possible. If not, use an adult AED.
- Turn on the AED.
- Plug in connector, if necessary.
- Make sure no one is touching the person.
- Push the âAnalyzeâ button.
- If a shock is advised, check again to make sure no one is touching the person.
- Push the âShockâ button.
- Start or resume continue compressions.
- Follow AED prompts.
4. Continue CPR
After You Leave The Hospital
A patients treatment doesnt end once theyre discharged. Theyll undergo follow-up appointments with their doctor and plenty of education about what led to the heart attack and how best to treat it.
Theyll also likely undergo a cardiac rehabilitation program, an exercise program involving treadmill or stationary bike usage while wearing a heart monitor so specialists can monitor your EKG levels and your vital signs.
Its a major event in their life and they have to go through a psychological recovery as much as a physical recovery, Dr. Asfour says.
Depending on the damage incurred to the heart, patients can generally return to normal activities unless those normal activities including smoking, being sedentary or eating lots of unhealthy, fried foods.
I ask patients to own it, in a sense, Dr. Asfour explains. To learn about it, be their own advocate. I dont just want them to be receiving pills and doing whatever I tell them. I want them to challenge the status quo. To be more active in their own care.
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Outcome Of A Massive Heart Attack
Heart attacks can lead to:
These eventually end up causing myocardial arrhythmia, failure of the heart and a chance of a second heart attack. Also, people might get unconscious and in the worst conditions death of the patient occurs. At times, major heart attacks may have a catastrophic outcome on the patient and studies reveal that in 40 to 50% cases there is an increased death risk after the patient is hospitalized.
Tips For Heart Attack Prevention
The goal after your heart attack is to keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of having another heart attack. Take your medications as directed, make healthy lifestyle changes, see your doctor for regular heart checkups, and consider a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Why do I need to take drugs after a heart attack?
You might take certain drugs after a heart attack to:
- Prevent blood clots
- Prevent plaques by lowering cholesterol
Know the names of your medications, what theyâre used for, and when you need to take them. Go over your medications with your doctor or nurse. Keep a list of all your medications, and take it to each of your doctor visits. If you have questions about them, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but don’t skip your medications. Many people don’t take their medications the way their doctor told them to. Figure out what keeps you from taking your medicine — it could be side effects, cost, or forgetfulness — and ask your doctor for help.
What lifestyle changes are needed after a heart attack?
To keep heart disease from getting worse and to head off another heart attack, follow your doctor’s advice. You might need to change your lifestyle. Here are some changes you can make that can cut your risk and put you on the path to a healthier life:
Why should I take part in cardiac rehabilitation?
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Heart Attack Vs Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest is slightly different than a heart attack. While a heart attack is due to blood flow blockage to the heart, a cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating. This is when quick and dramatic oxygen deprivation affects the electricity of the heart and makes it stop, says Petre. Life hangs on a thin thread.
For cardiac arrest, an electrical shock or adequate life support within minutes is the only way to survive, and permanent damage can occur in a matter of minutes. Sudden cardiac arrest can occur after a heart attack or during recovery, as heart attacks increase the risk of cardiac arrestalthough most heart attacks do not ultimately lead to cardiac arrest.
Cause Of Most Heart Attacks Found
Researchers Say They May Know What Causes 90% of Heart Attacks
Previously, researchers thought that only about half of heart attacks were explained by risk factors such as smoking or cholesterol. But now they say that the cause of almost all heart attacks can be pinpointed to one or more of the following:
- Eating too few fruits and vegetables
- Abstaining from alcohol
These risk factors are equal-opportunity killers — black or white, Asian or American, young or old, man or woman — all can fall victim by these same risks. Diet, exercise, and moderate consumption of alcohol can decrease risk of heart disease, but cannot reverse the potential danger posed by risks such as high cholesterol or smoking, says Salim Yusuf, MD, who led the study.
Studies have shown that men who drink up to two alcohol drinks a day and women who drink up to one a day have a lower risk of heart disease. One drink is generally considered to be four to five ounces of wine, a 12-ounce beer, or 1 ounce of liquor.
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What Causes A Heart Attack
The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary artery disease, which is the most common type of heart disease. This is when your coronary arteriescannot carry enough oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. Most of the time, coronary artery disease happens when a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside your arteries, causing the arteries to narrow. The buildup of this plaque is called atherosclerosis. This can happen over many years, and it can block blood flow to parts of your heart muscle. Plaques that narrow arteries slowly over time cause angina.
Eventually, an area of plaque can break open inside your artery. This causes a blood clot to form on the plaques surface. If the clot becomes large enough, it can block blood flow to your heart. If the blockage isnt treated quickly, a part of your heart muscle begins to die.
Figure A shows damage caused by a heart attack. Figure B shows the coronary artery with plaque buildup and a blood clot.
Overweight And Obesity Are Key Players In Heart Attacks
Being overweight has a significant influence on your risk of having a heart attack for several reasons. For starters, carrying extra weight places a high demand on your heart. Obesity alone makes you more likely to have a heart attack even if youre otherwise healthy.
However, patients who are overweight and obese often have other health conditions that detract from their heart health, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
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What Can I Expect If I Have Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Most people who have a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital dont survive. This is usually because they dont get help in time. Most cases of sudden cardiac arrest that dont happen in a hospital take place at home. Every minute that you dont receive help is another minute your brain is without the oxygen it needs.
People who survive sudden cardiac arrest have a varied outlook, depending on how fast they received medical treatment. They usually need help regaining skills they had before their sudden cardiac arrest. This happens because you can have brain damage if too many minutes pass without oxygen reaching your brain. Other organs may also be affected, including resulting in kidney failure, liver failure and long-term heart disease.
Types Of Heart Attacks
The scientific term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction or MI for short. There are different kinds of heart attacks, and the severity, diagnosis and treatment for each may be different.
What all heart attacks have in common is that something is preventing oxygen-containing, nutrient-rich blood from getting to the heart muscle. The amount of damage to the heart will depend on the type of heart attack, the severity of blockage and the time it took to get treated.
Heres what you need to know about the types of heart attacks:
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Heart Attack
A heart attack is a life threatening medical condition in which the blood flowing to the heart suddenly stops due to a blocked coronary artery. Damage to surrounding tissues occurs immediately.
Recovering from a heart attack ultimately depends on the severity of the condition as well as how quickly its treated.
Immediately after the event, you can expect to stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days, or until your condition is stable.
Overall, it takes several weeks and possibly up to several months to recover from a heart attack. Your individual recovery is dependent on:
- your overall condition
Despite its name, a widowmaker heart attack can affect women, too.
With this type of heart attack, you may be in the hospital for a few extra days, especially if you need to have surgery to open up the LAD artery.
A low-fat, low-calorie diet has been proven to help prevent the risk of a heart attack. However, if youve already had a heart attack, eating right is simply a must to help prevent future occurrences.
One helpful eating plan is called the dietary approaches to stop hypertension, or DASH.
The overall goal of this diet is to limit sodium, red meat, and saturated fats while focusing on potassium-rich sources of fruits and vegetables, along with lean meats, fish, and plant oils.
The Mediterranean diet is similar to DASH in that they both emphasize plant-based foods.
Overall, aim to:
What Is Coronary Artery Disease
Most heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease . This is when a gradual build-up of fatty streaks form in the coronary arteries. These are the arteries that deliver oxygenated blood to the heart muscle. The build-up of fatty streaks makes the coronary arteries narrow and stiffen over time.
As the coronary arteries narrow, it becomes more difficult for oxygenated blood to reach the heart muscle, sometimes causing pain and discomfort known as angina.
If a piece of plaque cracks, it may cause a blood clot to form and block a coronary artery, cutting off the blood supply to a part of the heart muscle. This causes a heart attack.
The heart attack symptoms you feel during a heart attack are caused by your heart muscle being starved of oxygen. This prevents your heart from beating as normal.
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Duration Of A Heart Attack
If you experience symptoms that may indicate a heart attack for longer than five minutes, its important to seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Dont delay treatment by waiting to see if your symptoms go away. Even if your symptoms let up or change, there may be ongoing damage to your heart.
The sooner treatment is administered, the less likely a heart attack is to cause significant or long-lasting damage to your heart muscle.
Massive Heart Attack Vs Heart Attack: What Is The Difference
You may not think there is a difference between a heart attack and a massive heart attack, but the two are distinct.
A mild heart attack affects a smaller area of the heart and typically doesnt lead to too much permanent damage. Regardless, even a mild heart attack is still a medical emergency and without proper treatment, there is a higher risk of a more serious heart attack occurring in the future.
A massive heart attack affects a larger portion of the heart, contributing to greater damage. A massive heart attack can lead to collapse, cardiac arrest, rapid death, or permanent heart damage.
Symptoms in both types of heart attack include coughing, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, restlessness, feeling clammy and sweaty, and shortness of breath.
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How Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Different From A Heart Attack
Sudden cardiac arrest is not a heart attack but can occur during a heart attack. Heart attacks occur when there is a blockage in one or more of the arteries to the heart, preventing the heart from receiving enough oxygen-rich blood. If the oxygen in the blood cannot reach the heart muscle, the heart becomes damaged.
In contrast, sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions and suddenly becomes very irregular. The heart beats dangerously fast. The ventricles may flutter or quiver , and blood is not delivered to the body. In the first few minutes, the greatest concern is that blood flow to the brain will be reduced so drastically that a person will lose consciousness. Death follows unless emergency treatment is begun immediately.
Emergency treatment includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation. CPR is a manual technique using repetitive pressing to the chest and breathing into the persons airways that keeps enough oxygen and blood flowing to the brain until the normal heart rhythm is restored with an electric shock to the chest, a procedure called defibrillation. Emergency squads use portable defibrillators and frequently there are public access defibrillators in public locations that are intended to be available for use by citizens who observe cardiac arrest.
Can You Prevent A Heart Attack
You can lower your risk of a heart attack by changing behaviors that can raise your risks or treating any known coronary artery disease. Healthy lifestyle changes, including heart-healthy eating, staying active, quitting smoking, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight, can help prevent heart disease. Even if you already have coronary artery disease, these changes can lower your risk of a heart attack.
It is also important for you to get treatment for other health conditions that raise your risk of a heart attack. Talk to your doctor about whether taking aspirin can help you prevent blood clots that can lead to a heart attack.
Research for your health
Learn about current and future NHLBI research to advance treatment and improve our scientific understanding of the causes of heart attacks. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBIs broader commitment to advancing scientific discovery for heart and vascular diseases.
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Heart Attack And Sudden Cardiac Arrest Differences
People often use these terms interchangeably, but they’re not the same. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating. A heart attack is a circulation problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem.
Why Does A Massive Heart Attack Happen
A massive heart attack happens because the artery that branches off from your aorta gets blocked and backs up. This is what makes it so fatal, as there’s often little to no warning before symptoms set
Why does a massive heart attack happen?
Due to the presence of atherosclerosis, which is a chronic inflammatory disease in the arteries.
One of the most common causes of heart attack among adults is ruptured plaque within an artery in the cardiovascular system. The plaque builds up over time and can rupture due to stress or sudden decreases in blood flow with toxins released into circulation leading to the death of surrounding tissue.
Thankfully, most people are at very low risk for a second heart attack – the vast majority are not.
Then how is it possible to have a second one? It’s possible due to uncontrolled high blood pressure. If you chronically have high blood pressure- some experts say up to 140/90 over many years- then constant stress on your heart can cause some damage. Your arteries weaken and this makes them more likely to rupture when additional pressure is applied in some way, for example during periods of acute hypertension or severe exercise. If one artery ruptures, the force of the sudden surge of blood flow could “pull” on another nearby artery until it ruptures as well, causing an even more serious situation.
A massive heart attack is a physician’s name for uncontrolled and dangerous levels of coronary blood flow.