Tests Investigations and Medications for a Heart Attack

Tests for Heart Damage

The extent of heart damage can be checked through the following tests:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – usually repeated over several hours
  • Echocardiography
  • Coronary angiography

Tests for Heart attacks

The side-effect of heart damage can be checked through the following tests:

  • Troponin I and troponin T
  • CK and CK-MB
  • Serum myoglobin

Heart attack --- a medical emergency!

In case of heart attack, the person is hospitalised and usually requires intensive care and continuous ECG monitoring. Heart attack patients are carefully monitored because unstable heart beats may cause death after the first few hours of heart attack.

Treatment for Heart attack

The aim of this intensive care treatment for heart attacks is to let the heart reducing demands on it so that it can heal and prevent complications.

  • Medications -- Medications are inserted directly into the patient’s vein using an intravenous (IV) line.
  • Monitoring the Heart Beats -- The heart beats are continuously monitored by high tech monitoring devices.
  • Monitoring the Body Fluid -- A urinary catheter is sometimes inserted into a patient's bladder in order to monitor the fluid status.
  • Giving Oxygen Oxygen mask is given to the patient to make sure oxygen is readily available for the tissues of the body. It also reduces the workload on the heart.
  • Pain Control – Very high and effective pain killers like nitro-glycerine, morphine etc are prescribed for those suffering a heart attack in order to control the pain.

Thrombolytic Therapy

Thrombolytic therapy is initiated within 6 hours of beginning of chest pain. It is administered as an IV infusion of streptokinase or tissue plasminogen activator, and is followed by an IV infusion of heparin. It usually lasts for 48 to 72 hours. However, thrombolytic therapy is not appropriate for people who have had:

  • Some sort of major surgery during the past 6 weeks.
  • Head trauma within the past month
  • History of gastrointestinal bleed
  • Brain tumour
  • Stroke within the past 6 months
  • Current severely elevated high blood pressure

Thrombolytic therapy can also be complicated by significant bleeding.

Emergency Coronary Angioplasty

In case of blocked coronary arteries, emergency coronary angioplasty may be required in order to open them. It can be used as an alternative to thrombolytic therapy. The re-opening of the coronary artery is ensured by implantation of a small device called a ‘stent’. Emergency coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) may be required in some cases.

Antiplatelet Medication

Collecting of platelets may lead to clot formation. For this antiplatelet medication is used which prevent the collection of platelets at the site of injury in a blood vessel wall. Aspirin, ticlopidine (Ticlid) and clopidogrel (Plavix) are the most common type of antiplatelet medication.

Other Medications

Some other medications are also given to heart patients, which are as follows:

  • Beta-blockers (like metoprolol, atenolol, and propranolol) are used to reduce the workload of the heart.
  • ACE Inhibitors (like ramipril, lisinopril, enalapril, or captopril) are used to prevent heart failure.

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