The medical emergency requires swift action from whoever is around to call 999, to the paramedics rushing the patient off to hospital and keeping the person alive. It really can be a life-or-death situation. “Acting quickly in the event of a suspected heart attack can reduce the damage to your heart and increase your chances of survival,” said the Heart Research Institute. Paramedics will begin treatment in the ambulance, which may be followed up by one of these six life-saving tools.
The first being thrombolysis, which is clot-dissolving medication delivered straight into the bloodstream.
Another option is angioplasty, which is where a small balloon-tipped catheter is instead inside one or more coronary arteries.
The catheter is then inflated to help widen the narrowed arteries to help improve blood flow.
A stent insertion is a small piece of stainless steel mesh that can be inserted after angioplasty.
This stent is left in the artery to keep the arteries wide open, allowing the blood to flow much more easily to the heart.
Coronary artery bypass
It’s possible a person could have a coronary artery bypass if they’ve had a heart attack.
This involves takin a blood vessel from the leg, chest or arm, and grafting it to the coronary arteries.
“This improves blood supply to the heart through a detour – a ‘bypass’ past a narrowed or blocked artery,” the Heart Research Institute explained.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators
Another possibility is an implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD), which can be inserted into the chest and connected to the heart.
“They are designed for people at high risk of developing abnormal fast rhythms (arrhythmias),” said the Heart Research Institute.
ICDs can correct heart rates that are either too fast or too slow by delivering a small electric shock to the muscle.
This is to help the heart muscle to return to its normal rhythm, otherwise the condition could be life-threatening.
Then there’s pacemakers, which are primarily designed to treat slow heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation.
The electronic device monitors the heart’s rhythm and delivers a pulse to the heart at programmed intervals.
Once you’ve had a heart attack, the risk of having another one increases.
This is why it’s crucial to do all that you can to prevent that from happening; this starts from lifestyle changes.
The Heart Research Institute have listed strategies to assist with the recovery from a heart attack and to prevent another one.
This includes “gentle exercise” such as walking, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and having regular health check-ups.
In addition, one is advised to take their prescribed medication and to avoid smoking at all costs, including second-hand smoke.
Another key measure is to eat vegetables, wholegrain, fruit, nuts and seeds every day.