What Happens During a Heart Attack?
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI),is permanent damage to the heart muscle. “Myo” means muscle, “cardial” refers to the heart, and “infarction” means death of tissue due to lack of blood supply.The video shows you how a person undergoes this critical situation and what is done all on sudden to make him breath.
A constant supply of oxygen-rich blood, require to nourish the heart muscle. The coronary arteries provide this critical blood supply. If you have coronary artery disease, those arteries become narrow and blood cannot flow as they do. Fatty matter, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells build up within the arteries to form plaques of different sizes. The plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside.
When the plaque is hard, the outer shell cracks (plaque rupture), platelets (disc shaped particles in the blood that aid clotting) come to the area, and blood clots form around the plaque. If a blood clot totally blocks the artery, the heart muscle becomes “starved” for oxygen. Within a short time, death of heart muscle cells occurs, causing permanent damage. This is a heart attack.
Each coronary artery supplies blood to a region of heart muscle. The amount of damage to the heart muscle depends on the size of the area supplied by the blocked artery and the time between injury and treatment. Healing of the heart muscle begins soon after a heart attack and takes about eight weeks. Just like a skin wound, the heart’s wound heals and a scar will form in the damaged area. But, the new scar tissue does not contract. So, the heart’s pumping ability is lessened after a heart attack. The amount of lost pumping ability depends on the size and location of the scar.
Heart attack may occur:
- When you are resting or asleep
- After a sudden increase in physical activity
- When you are active outside in cold weather
- After sudden, severe emotional or physical stress, including an illness.
Many risk factors may lead to the development of plaque buildup and a heart attack.
What are the warning signs of a heart attack?
While chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom, symptoms can be less obvious, and you may not know what’s going on. The more symptoms you have, the more likely you are having a heart attack. Men and women can have all the same warning signs. However, women are more likely to have shortness of breath, back or jaw pain, nausea, or feel light-headed. These symptoms may occur without chest pressure or pain. A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call your local emergency number right away.
- DO NOT try to drive yourself to the hospital.
- DO NOT WAIT. You are at greatest risk of sudden death in the early hours of a heart attack.
- Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack.
- You may feel the pain in only one part of your body OR
- Pain may move from your chest to your arms, shoulder, neck, teeth, jaw, belly area, or back
The pain can be severe or mild. It can feel like:
- A tight band around the chest
- Bad indigestion
- Something heavy sitting on your chest
- Squeezing or heavy pressure
- The pain most often lasts longer than 20 minutes.
- Rest and a medicine to relax the blood vessels (called nitroglycerin) may not completely relieve the pain of a heart attack.
- Symptoms may also go away and come back.
- Palpitations (feeling like your heart is beating too fast or irregularly)
- Sweating, which may be very heavy. Some people (the elderly, people with diabetes, and women) may have little or no chest pain. Or, they may have unusual symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and weakness.
A “silent heart attack” is a heart attack with no symptoms.
- You will be hooked up to a heart monitor, so the health care team can look at how your heart is beating.
- You will receive oxygen so that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
- An intravenous line (IV) will be placed into one of your veins. Medicines and fluids pass through this IV.
- You may get nitroglycerin and morphine to help reduce chest pain.
- You may receive aspirin, unless it would not be safe for you. In that case, you will be given another medicine that prevents blood clots.
- Dangerous abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) may be treated with medicine or electric shocks.
Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.
Angioplasty is often the first choice of treatment. It should be done within 90 minutes after you get to the hospital, and usually no later than 12 hours after a heart attack.
A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that opens up (expands) inside A stent is often placed after or during angioplasty. It helps prevent the artery from closing up again.
You may be given drugs to break up the clot. It is best if these drugs are given within 3 hours of when you first felt the chest pain. This is called thrombolytic therapy.
Some patients may also have heart bypass surgery to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This procedure is also called open heart surgery.
TREATMENT AFTER A HEART ATTACK
After several days, you will be discharged from the hospital.
You will likely need to take medicines, some for the rest of your life. Always talk to your health care provider before stopping or changing how you take any medicines. Stopping certain medications can be deadly.