Heart Attack Treatment
After a heart attack, it's important to quickly restore blood flow to the heart. The main treatments used to restore blood flow to the heart are thrombolytic ("clot-busting") drugs and procedures such as angioplasty or open heart surgery. Examples of other drugs used in treating a heart attack include beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and nitrates. People who have had a heart attack usually spend several days in the hospital as part of their treatment.
An Introduction to Heart Attack Treatment
Each year, more than a million people in the United States have a heart attack. About half of these people die as a result. Delaying heart attack treatment can result in lasting damage to your heart, or even death. The sooner treatment begins, the better your chances of recovering.
The goals of heart attack treatment are to:
- Quickly restore blood flow to the heart
- Continuously monitor your vital signs to detect and treat heart attack complications
- Make lifelong changes to reduce the chances of another heart attack.
Depending on the situation, specific treatment options can include:
- Medications such as thrombolytic ("clot-busting") drugs and pain medication
- Procedures such as angioplasty or open heart surgery
- Oxygen and bed rest
- Cardiac rehabilitation and lifestyle changes.
Treating a Heart Attack: Restoring Blood Flow
Restoring blood flow to the heart is vital to prevent or limit damage to the heart muscle and to prevent another heart attack. The main treatments used to restore blood flow to the heart are thrombolytic drugs and procedures such as angioplasty or open heart surgery.
Thrombolytic ("clot-busting") drugs are used to dissolve blood clots that are blocking blood flow to the heart. When given soon after a heart attack begins, these drugs can limit or prevent permanent damage to the heart. To be most effective, they need to be given within one hour after the start of heart attack symptoms.