We often hear about a heart attack or Myocardial Infarction (MI), but we don’t have accurate & technical information about that and so do many patients may lose their lives. Our heart is a muscle pump that continuously pumps blood to the whole body. The blood supply to the heart consists of three blood vessels (one at the right and two on the left side) called the coronary artery. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot suddenly forms in this coronary artery and obstructs the blood supply to the heart muscle. The main symptoms of a Heart attack are chest pain, tightness in the chest, feeling of heaviness on the chest, heartburn, shortness of breath, anxiety, sweating, and dizziness. Sometimes the pain can be felt in the back, both hands, neck, or jaw instead of the chest.
If any of these symptoms occur, it is necessary to go to the nearest hospital immediately and take out the ECG, from which the doctor can quickly diagnose a heart attack. Often people ignore these symptoms as acidity or muscular pain and waste important time rubbing balm, taking acidity pills, or pain killers. Time plays an important role in the management of heart attack because the longer a blood vessel is blocked, the more the heart muscles will get damaged and consequently, the heart muscles will become weaker. Importantly, there is a common misconception that heart attack is more common in men, but it’s not the case. It is also more common in women too.
Now the most reliable treatment for a heart attack is to restore the blood flow by opening the blood vessel which is blocked due to a blood clot. We have two options for this, one of the oldest and most commonly used methods is injecting a clot-dissolving agent through a vein, this procedure is called “thrombolysis”. But the success rate of this treatment is 60 to 70 %. This means that in 30 to 40 % the blocked blood vessel doesn’t open after thrombolysis. That means, if it stays closed it can make the patient’s condition worse and can cause permanent damage to the heart muscles due to interrupted blood supply. The second and ideal option is to perform a quick angiography in which the doctor can accurately know the current status of all the three blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, and the blocked blood vessel can be re-opened with a “Primary Angioplasty” and a stent can be inserted. Primary Angioplasty is angioplasty performed in an emergency when a heart attack occurs. The success rate of angioplasty is 95-98%. This treatment facility may not be available everywhere as it requires an expert team of cardiologists, nurses, and technicians performing angioplasty 24×7. If all these infrastructural facilities are available along with expert interventional cardiologist on time, Primary Angioplasty is a boon for heart attack patients.
Dr. Anand Parikh
MD, DNB (Cardiology), FESC
Consultant – Interventional Cardiology
Wockhardt Hospitals, Nashik