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What is Golden Hour in medical terms ?

Golden hour is the critical one-hour from the onset of a heart attack when it is crucial for the patient to receive treatment. Deaths occurring from heart attacks can be sudden and quick, as nearly a third of patients, are unable to reach the hospital in time for efficient treatment by doctors. The patients chances of survival are greatest if given prompt medical treatment during the golden hour.

During a heart attack, the heart muscles die within 80-90 minutes from the moment after the heart attack, due to lack of blood supply. Once the golden hour time period passes, there is a tremendous increase in the possibility of nearly all affected parts of the heart to be irreversibly damaged.

Heart attack treatment :

After a heart attack, quick treatment to open the blocked artery is essential to reduce the amount of damage. The earlier the patient arrives at the hospital and receives treatment to restore normal blood flow, lesser is the damage to the heart and higher chance of survival. The amount of damage to the heart muscle depends on the size of the area supplied by the blocked coronary artery and the time between injury and treatment.

Hence it is crucial to get the patient started on treatment during the golden hour.

During the early hours, along with damaged heart muscles, irregular heart rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation can take place where the heart does not pump any blood to the ventricular muscle but the muscles contract at a rapid rate. Hence it should be ensured that on reaching the hospital, the patient is straight away put on an ECG monitor for the heart rhythms to be assessed and the patient can be treated immediately.

Heart attack doctors :

At Wockhardt Hospitals, once the heart attack is diagnosed, treatment with drugs and surgical procedures are started immediately by the heart attack doctors in the emergency room. Drug therapy is used to break up or prevent blood clots, widen or dilate your blood vessels, decrease your pain, and guard against any life-threatening heart rhythms. Depending on the severity of the heart attack, surgical procedures like angioplasty, bypass or open heart surgery may be advised/performed.

Angioplasty :

Clot-dissolving treatment is the primary treatment received when the patient reaches the hospital. This helps restore blood supply to the affected part of the heart. Clot busting drugs are usually used for this, but in recent years a procedure called primary angioplasty is also used. The prerequisite for doing an angioplasty is that it can be done only in a hospital with a cardiac catheterization laboratory and with doctors who have ample experience with such procedures.

In a Primary Angioplasty, a catheter tube is inserted all the way through the blood vessels up to the heart to identify the location of the blockage. Once identified, the blockage is crushed to reestablish the supply of blood to the affected portion of the heart.

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