Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, is a severe medical condition caused by a decrease in blood flow to the heart muscle. The heart muscle becomes damaged when this occurs, resulting in chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and get medical help as soon as possible.
Assessment: Assessment for a heart attack usually involves a physical examination and an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the electrical activity of the heart. A blood test may also measure the levels of certain enzymes and proteins released when the heart is damaged. Imaging tests such as a CT scan or echocardiogram may also be used to evaluate the extent of the damage.
Symptoms: The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. This pain can be described in various ways and may be accompanied by shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, and lightheadedness. Other signs and symptoms may include pain in the back, jaw, neck, and arms, fatigue, and palpitations.
Treatment: The most crucial treatment for a heart attack is to restore the blood flow to the heart muscle. This can be done through medications such as aspirin and nitroglycerin or a procedure such as an angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG). Treatment may also involve lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and improving diet and exercise.
Medication: Medications used to treat heart attacks include aspirin, nitroglycerin, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and anticoagulants. Aspirin helps to reduce the risk of further damage to the heart muscle by preventing blood clots from forming. Nitroglycerin helps to widen the arteries and increase the blood flow to the heart muscle. Beta-blockers help to slow the heart rate and reduce the risk of future heart attacks. ACE inhibitors help to reduce the pressure in the arteries and reduce the risk of further damage to the heart muscle. Anticoagulants help prevent blood clot formation and reduce the risk of stroke.
American Heart Association. (2021). Heart Attack. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Heart Attack. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20373106