Heart Attack Treatment
A heart attack is a life-threatening event that occurs when your heart doesn't receive enough oxygen. Interventions like the quick use of aspirin are known to improve your chances of survival. There are also interventions that are known to reduce future risk of a heart attack. To compare St. Mary's results with other hospitals in the United States, please visit http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/.
**This comparative data was collected Oct 2011 to Sept 2012.
A heart attack (also called an acute myocardial infarction) happens when the arteries leading to your heart become blocked and the blood supply is slowed or stopped. When your heart muscle can't get the oxygen and nutrients it
needs, the part of the heart tissue that is affected may die.
The symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- chest pain (often described as a crushing, squeezing, or burning pain in the center of the chest; may radiate to your arm or jaw)
- shortness of breath
- dizziness or faintness
- cold or clammy skin
- a gray or very ill appearance.
Sometimes there may be no symptoms, especially if you have diabetes. Women sometimes have different symptoms, such as a different kind of chest pain and/or abdominal pain.
Aspirin on Arrival
The heart is a muscle that gets oxygen through blood vessels. Sometimes blood clots can block these blood vessels, and your heart can't get enough oxygen. This can cause a heart attack. Chewing an aspirin as soon as symptoms of a heart attack begin may help reduce the severity of the attack. Aspirin can help keep blood clots from forming and dissolve blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Aspirin at Discharge
Blood clots can block blood vessels. Aspirin can help prevent blood clots from forming or help dissolve blood clots that have formed. Following a heart attack, continued use of aspirin may help reduce your risk of another heart attack. Aspirin can have side effects like stomach inflammation, bleeding, or allergic reactions. Talk to your health care provider before using aspirin on a regular basis to make sure it's safe for you.
Ace Inhibitors for LVSD (left Ventricular Function)
ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) are medicines used to treat patients with heart failure and are particularly beneficial in those patients with heart failure and decreased function of the left side of the heart. Early treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs in patients who have heart failure symptoms or decreased heart function after a heart attack can also reduce their risk of death from future heart attacks. ACE inhibitors and ARBs work by limiting the effects of a hormone that narrows blood vessels, and may thus lower blood pressure and reduce the work your heart has to perform. Since the ways in which these two kinds of drugs work are different, your doctor will decide which drug is most appropriate for you. If you have a heart attack and/or heart failure, you should get a prescription for ACE inhibitors or ARBs if you have decreased heart function before you leave the hospital.
Smoking increases your risk for developing blood clots and heart disease that can result in a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. Smoking causes your arteries to thicken and your blood vessels to narrow. Fat and plaque stick to the walls of your arteries, which makes it harder for blood to flow. Reduced blood flow to your heart may result in chest pain, high blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. Smoking is also linked to lung disease and cancer, and can cause premature death. It is important that you get information to help you quit smoking before you leave the hospital. Quitting may help prevent another heart attack. If you smoke, please quit.
For information to help you quit, call:
MaineTobacco Hotline: 1-800- 207-1230
American Cancer Society: 1-800-464-3102
American Heart Association: 1-800-937-0944
Beta Blockers on Arrival
Beta blockers are a type of medicine that is used to lower blood pressure, treat chest pain (angina) and heart failure, and help prevent a heart attack. Beta blockers relieve the stress on the heart by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force with which the heart muscle contracts to pump blood. If you come to the hospital with a heart attack, you should be given a beta blocker within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital. Beta Blockers at Discharge
Beta blockers are a type of medicine that is used to lower blood pressure, treat chest pain (angina) and heart failure, and help prevent a heart attack. Beta blockers relieve the stress on your heart by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force with which your heart muscles contract to pump blood. They also help keep blood vessels from constricting in your heart, brain, and body. If you have a heart attack, you should get a prescription for a beta blocker before you leave the hospital.
Thrombolytics Within 30 Minutes
The heart is a muscle that gets oxygen through blood vessels. Sometimes blood clots can block these blood vessels and the heart can't get enough oxygen. This can cause a heart attack. Thrombolytics are medicines that can help dissolve blood clots in blood vessels and improve blood flow to your heart. You should get them within 30 minutes of arrival at the hospital.