Why Choose Cardiac Partners To Diagnose And Treat Heart Attack
Cardiac Partners of Cooper and Inspira is the most comprehensive heart care center in southern New Jersey, providing expert cardiac care in your neighborhood. Our physicians are experts in the treatment of heart disease and leaders in cardiology research. And Cooper University Health Care has been rated high performing for 2021-22 for treatment of heart attack by the U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals ratings. With the latest technology available to pinpoint and treat all types of heart problems, we produce superior outcomes for our patients.
- Nationally and internationally renowned clinical and interventional cardiologists
- The most advanced minimally invasive techniques
- Largest volume of cardiothoracic surgery in the region
- Recognized by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for superior surgical outcomes
- Womens Heart program with the largest female cardiology group in South Jersey
- State-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities
- Individualized care designed to meet your needs
What Does Depression Have To Do With A Heart Attack
Depression is common after a heart attack. As many as 1 out of every 3 people who have had a heart attack report feelings of depression. People with a higher risk of depression after a heart attack include:
- People who have had depression before
- People who feel alone and without social or emotional support
Many people who have depression dont recognize it. They dont seek help or get treatment. Being depressed can make it harder for you to recover physically. Depression can be treated.
Some people have anxiety after a heart attack, fearing it will happen again. Talk to your doctor about your feelings so that you can manage or reduce your anxiety.
Why Should I Call 911 If I Can Drive Myself To The Hospital
If you have any symptoms of a heart attack, its best to call 911 for multiple reasons:
- First responders can do some of the early testing and treatment for a heart attack on the way to the hospital. This can speed up the overall diagnosis and treatment process.
- If you come into the hospital by ambulance, you usually have more immediate access to care. When youre having a heart attack, every second matters.
- Heart attacks can cause your heart to beat irregularly or stop entirely, either of which could cause you to pass out. If youre in an ambulance when that happens, first responders can react immediately to stabilize you. You also wont have to worry about passing out behind the wheel and causing a crash that could have devastating consequences for yourself or others.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A blocked artery needs immediate care to prevent permanent heart damage. You may think that if your symptoms are not intense and severe, youre not having a heart attack. However, its best to get your symptoms checked. Calling 911, rather than driving yourself or having someone else drive you, can be even more life-saving than you think. Time saved is heart muscle saved, and that means you have a better chance of a good outcome.
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Prevention Of Heart Attacks
You can help prevent a heart attack by knowing your risk factors for coronary artery disease and heart attack and taking action to lower those risks. Even if youve already had a heart attack or are told that your chances of having a heart attack are high, you can still lower your risk, most likely by making a few lifestyle changes that promote better health.
- Dont smoke. Your doctor may recommend methods for quitting, including nicotine replacement.
- Eat a diet low in fat, cholesterol and salt.
- See your doctor regularly for blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring.
- Pursue a program of moderate, regular aerobic exercise. People over age 50 who have led a sedentary lifestyle should check with a doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Your doctor may advise you to take a low dose of aspirin regularly. Aspirin reduces the tendency for the blood to clot, thereby decreasing the risk of heart attack. However, such a regimen should only be initiated under a doctors expressed recommendation.
- Women at or approaching menopause should discuss the possible cardio-protective benefits of estrogen replacement therapy with their doctor.
How To Help Someone Having A Heart Attack
Chest Pain & Heart Attack
If you find yourself in a situation where youre unsure what to do when someone is having a heart attack, Complete Care has created this guide for you. In this article well be discussing how to help someone having a heart attack, symptoms and warning signs to look out for, and even what to do when having a heart attack alone.
If you are helping someone who is in immediate medical crisis, to skip to our instructions for heart attack first aid treatment.
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What Procedures Treat A Heart Attack
The most common procedures to treat a heart attack include:
- Angioplasty and stenting. Angioplasty, also called percutaneous coronary intervention, is a nonsurgical procedure that opens blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. A thin, flexible tube with a medical balloon on the end is threaded through a blood vessel to the narrowed or blocked coronary artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to open the artery to allow blood flow to the heart. The balloon is then deflated and removed. A small mesh tube called a stent may be permanently placed in the artery. The stent helps prevent new blockages in the artery.
- Coronary artery bypass grafting. The surgeon uses a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body to re-route blood around the blockage in your artery. You may need this surgery if more than one artery is blocked, or if angioplasty and stenting did not work to restore blood flow to the heart.
After a heart attack, you may also need cardiac rehabilitation to recover from the damage the heart attack did to your heart.
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It could be the most important 60 seconds of your life, so now is the time to prepare yourself.
Seriously, to survive a heart attack, you need to know the signs and how to respond, well before it ever happens. You cant afford to wait. Not even for a minute.
A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery is blocked and blood cant reach the heart. When this happens, the heart muscle will begin to die. This can permanently damage your heart, and result in death.
Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heart attack now, while youre healthy, and know what action to take before a heart attack ever strikes. The faster you get to a hospital, the greater your chances of restoring blood flow to the heart, saving heart muscle and your life.
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Diagnosing And Treating A Heart Attack
Certain treatments usually are started right away if a heart attack is suspected, even before the diagnosis is confirmed. These include:
- Aspirin to prevent further blood clotting
- Nitroglycerin to reduce your hearts workload and improve blood flow through the coronary arteries
- Oxygen therapy
- Treatment for chest pain
Once the diagnosis of a heart attack is confirmed or strongly suspected, doctors start treatments promptly to try to restore blood flow through the blood vessels supplying the heart. The two main treatments are clot-busting medicines and percutaneous coronary intervention, also known as coronary angioplasty, a procedure used to open blocked coronary arteries.
Thrombolytic medicines, also called clot busters, are used to dissolve blood clots that are blocking the coronary arteries. To work best, these medicines must be given within several hours of the start of heart attack symptoms. Ideally, the medicine should be given as soon as possible.
Coronary artery bypass grafting also may be used to treat a heart attack. During coronary artery bypass grafting, a surgeon removes a healthy artery or vein from your body. The artery or vein is then connected, or grafted, to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery. The grafted artery or vein bypasses the blocked portion of the coronary artery. This provides a new route for blood to flow to the heart muscle.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Is there a test I can take to see if my arteries or blocked so I know if Im at risk of a having a heart attack?
- What is the likely cause of my heart attack?
- How serious was my heart attack?
- What course of treatment do you recommend? Do I need medicine? Surgery?
- Do I need to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program?
- When can I return to normal physical and sexual activity?
- What is my risk of having another heart attack?
- Are my family members at an increased risk of heart attack?
- Do I need to take medicine to prevent another heart attack?
- Will the medicine interact with any of the medicine I already take?
- What lifestyle changes should I make at home to prevent another heart attack?
- Can sexual activity cause a heart attack?
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Diagnosing A Heart Attack
In addition to a physical exam and evaluation of symptoms, our heart specialists use the latest technology to quickly diagnose heart attacks. If the origin of the pain is unknown and you are considered low risk for a cardiac event, you may be sent to our observation decision unit .
The ODU is a step between emergency room care and being admitted to the hospital. Here, trained heart experts carefully monitor your condition and complete additional testing, which may include:
Electrocardiogram : This noninvasive procedure measures and records the hearts electrical activity. The reading shows how fast your heart is beating. It also reveals signs of heart damage due to heart attack or heart disease.
Blood tests: Your doctor may check for elevated levels of certain proteins that are released when cells in heart muscle die, indicating that youve had a heart attack.
Stress test: Your doctor monitors your heart rate as you walk on a treadmill or as medication takes effect. A stress test detects artery disease and gauges your hearts response to exertion.
Coronary angiogram: Your doctor injects contrast dye through a catheter into your coronary arteries. The dye flows into the blood vessels of your heart and any blockages show up on special X-rays.
About Half Of All Heart Attacks Are Mistaken For Less Serious Problems And Can Increase Your Risk Of Dying From Coronary Artery Disease
You can have a heart attack and not even know it. A silent heart attack, known as a silent myocardial infarction , account for 45% of heart attacks and strike men more than women.
They are described as “silent” because when they occur, their symptoms lack the intensity of a classic heart attack, such as extreme chest pain and pressure stabbing pain in the arm, neck, or jaw sudden shortness of breath sweating, and dizziness.
“SMI symptoms can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem, and thus men ignore them,” says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the vascular disease prevention program at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
For instance, men may feel fatigue or physical discomfort and chalk it up to overwork, poor sleep, or some general age-related ache or pain. Other typical symptoms like mild pain in the throat or chest can be confused with gastric reflux, indigestion, and heartburn.
Also, the location of pain is sometimes misunderstood. With SMI, you may feel discomfort in the center of the chest and not a sharp pain on the left side of the chest, which many people associate with a heart attack. “People can even feel completely normal during an SMI and afterward, too, which further adds to the chance of missing the warning signs,” says Dr. Plutzky.
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How Are Heart Attacks Diagnosed
Heart attacks are usually diagnosed in an emergency room setting. A healthcare provider will diagnose a heart attack using the following:
- History and symptoms: The provider will ask you about the symptoms you experienced. If someone was with you, the provider might also ask them to describe what happened.
- Lab testing: Heart attacks cause a specific chemical marker to show up in your blood.
- Heart-specific diagnostic tests: This includes tests that detect and record the electrical activity in your heart.
- Imaging tests: These tests give providers a way to see inside your heart. Many of these tests can also show the location of a blood flow blockage, which can guide treatment.
How Is A Heart Attack Treated
Quick treatment to get the blood flowing to your heart muscle again is important. This can reduce the amount of permanent damage to your heart and save your life.
Many people need to have emergency treatment to restore the blood flow:
- Coronary angioplasty re-opens the blocked coronary artery by inserting one or more stents. This helps keep the narrowed artery open.
- Thrombolysis involves giving you clot-busting medicine to dissolve the blood clot that’s blocking the coronary artery.
- Coronary bypass surgery helps to restore normal blood flow by using a blood vessel from your leg, arm or chest in your heart to bypass the blocked artery.
You might not have these treatments if your doctor decides it’s not safe or necessary.
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Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
A coronary angioplasty may not be technically possible if the anatomy of your arteries is different from normal. This may be the case if there are too many narrow sections in your arteries or if there are lots of branches coming off your arteries that are also blocked.
In such circumstances, an alternative operation, known as a coronary artery bypass graft , may be considered.
A CABG involves taking a blood vessel from another part of your body and attaching it to your coronary artery above and below the narrowed area or blockage. This new blood vessel is known as a graft.
The graft diverts blood around narrowed or clogged parts of your major arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to your heart.
How To Prevent A Heart Attack
Managing your heart disease risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent a heart attack.
Ira Yapanda/Shutterstock Everyday Health
There are also modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and being overweight or obese, that can make a big difference in heart disease risk. The good news is that reducing these major risks for heart disease can help prevent future heart attacks.
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Common Heart Attack Types And Treatments
The type of heart attack 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 , balloon angioplasty , 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 , 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 .
How To Get Checked Out
Men may not be aware they had an SMI until weeks or even months later when they see their doctor for a regular visit, or because of persistent symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, or heartburn.
SMI is usually detected from an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, which can highlight heart muscle damage. Another method is a blood test for the molecular footprints of troponin T, a protein released by injured heart cells. That test is often used in emergency departments for patients with heart attack symptoms.
Once an SMI is diagnosed, your doctor can identify your main risk factors and help design a treatment strategy, including changing your diet, exercising regularly, and taking a statin as well as other medication to help prevent a second heart attack .
“If you do notice any symptoms of a SMI, do not brush them aside, even if you do not think they are serious,” says Dr. Plutzky. “Playing it safe is always a better move than risking the potential harmful downside.”
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Dont Become A Statistic
Of course, all of these life-saving treatments are of no use if you dont respond immediately to the warning signs of heart attacks.
According to a study published in Circulation , more than half of the 1.2 million people who have a heart attack or coronary death each year in the U.S. die in an ED or before reaching a hospital within an hour of the onset of symptoms.
Speed is of the essence in stopping heart attacks. Lifesaving measures are only effective for a brief period of time after symptoms begin, before heart muscle begins to die and your heart ceases to function. Heed the advice. And just. Dont. Wait.