By Dr. Skand Kumar Trivedi , Cardiology
Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, is a severe condition where death of the heart muscle occurs because of the loss of blood supply. The blood loss usually happens because of the blockage of a coronary artery. Due to electrical instability, ventricular fibrillation is caused. Heart attacks may result in permanent brain damage or even death.
- Symptoms of Heart Attack: There are many early symptoms and signs of heart attack, which should be recognized. Symptoms of heart attack vary from person to person. Here is a list of the primary heart attack symptoms:
- Chest Pain and Discomfort: Chest pain is the basic symptom of a heart attack and occurs in different forms. The chest pain has a pressure, fullness and squeezing sensation and starts from the center of the chest. The pain may go away and re-occur and may spread down to other limbs of the body.
- Headache, Toothache: The chest pain occurring due to a heart attack spreads all over the body and the jaw. Even the back and head are affected. Sometimes pain in these regions is present while chest pain is absent.
- Shortness of Breath: A gasping sensation or feeling shortness of breath is another common sign of a heart attack. Such breathing difficulty is called dyspnea. The shortness of breath occurs before or during the chest pain.
- Nausea and Vomiting: The feeling of nausea or sickness in the stomach is another possible symptom. It is accompanied by belching or burping and sometimes, the heart attack is associated with a feeling of indigestion. Nausea is more common in women. Vomiting also occurs alongside nausea.
- General Epigastric Discomfort: In several cases, patients describe the pain of a heart attack as stomach pain. The pain is heavy and uncomfortable and persists for several minutes.
- Sweating: Perspiration or sweating occurs during a heart attack and the patient experiences cold sweat in avid amounts.
Emergency Treatment for Heart Attack:
- A person who has a heart attack should be rushed to a hospital.
- Several tests are carried out to detect the cause of the attack. A 12 lead EKG is carried out to supervise electrical activity within the heart and detect the damaged areas.
- Blood tests are undertaken to check enzymes and in certain cases, cardiac catheterization is required where pictures of the blood vessels are examined.
- Emergency medicines are given to the patient to stop the formation of blood clots and include aspirin, heparin and other drugs. Other medicines are given for thrombolytic therapy, which dissolve already formed blood clots. They work to reduce the heart damage. Nitrates are also used.
A heart attack is a severe condition and must be attended to immediately. Emergency treatment procedures are essential to save the life of an affected person.