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VI   - Heart Attack - Every Second Counts !
What is a Heart attack? A heart attack occurs when a blood flow to part of heart muscle become blocked. If the blood flow is not restored quickly the heart get permanently damaged.

Know the warning signs of Heart attack- Act in time to save life.

Heart attack is leading cause of death world wide. In India it occurs in younger population .According to WHO report the estimated patients of CAD in India are about 45 millions!

Heart attack is a life- and-death emergency- every second counts.

“Treat any chest pain as a medical emergency”

Especially if you are diabetic, if you are smoker, or/ have high blood pressure / have family history of heart problems. Half of the heart attack deaths occur with two hours after beginning of the heart attack and / or before the victim reaches the hospital ! So get help fast.

Some Heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort then progress.
1) Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw or Stomach.

2) Pain or discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

3) Pressure, squeezing or fullness in your chest

4) shortness of breath

5) Nausea, vomiting, cold sweat or dizziness

In women symptoms may be different and vague, unusual fatigue, anxiety, heart burn may precede heart attack.
What should you do?   
Don’t wait- minute matters

• Call emergency no.’s 2217401/ 2217402/9440808640/108

• Stop all activity and sit or lie down in whatever position is most comfortable.

• If you have Sorbitrate take the dosage subsequently

• Rest comfortably and wait for ambulance

• “Don’t do any activity, Don’t walk or strain or climb stairs”

Today there are excellent treatments like Primary angioplasty, Thrombolytic therapy for heart attack that can save lives. However treatment is most effective when started within 1 hr of onset of symptoms. This prompt care dramatically reduces heart damages. In fact 88% of Heart attacks survivors under ages 65 can return to their usual work.

When a Heart attack occurs, an artery to the heart (coronary artery) is blocked and the heart muscle suffers irreversible injury and dies. This doesn’t happen instantly but over a period of time. The damage increases the longer the artery stays blocked. Delay may reduce your chance of survival.

If a victim gets to a cardiac intensive care facility fast enough, latest treatments can be done to dissolve the clot to save life and decrease the disability.

Reperfusion therapy is done with

1. Clot lysing drugs like Urokinasre / Streptokinase or r-tPA are injected to dissolve the clot in a coronary artery and restore blood flow.

2. Primary balloon angioplasty (PTCA). ? is the best choice of treatment for acute heart attack. Here a guiding catheter is passed till the origin of the blocked coronary artery over which balloon is introduced and expanded followed stent implantation to keep the vessel open.

3. Antiplatelets, anticoagulants, statins, antihypertensives, etc.

4. Bypass surgery is a surgery in which arteries and veins are taken from other parts of body and used to bypass the blocked coronary artery.

This sophisticated treatment requires full-fledged cardiac cathlab backup facilities and technical expertise of an interventional cardiologist.
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