Wed, 29 January 2020
Recognising the symptoms of a heart attack in ‘the golden hour’ is essential, warns Bahrain Specialist Hospital’s cardiac division.
Heart attacks can happen to anyone, even younger adults and timing is crucial to saving a patients life. The golden hour is that window of opportunity that greatly influences the chances of survival as well as quality of life following a heart attack.
According to Dr Abdul Azeez Mohammed, Specialist Cardiologist at Bahrain Specialist Hopsital, the very first critical hour at the onset of a heart attack is crucial. The heart muscle starts to die within 60-90 minutes after it stops receiving blood supply and immediate action is imperative to limit heart muscle damage within this period. This is also the period in which most of the complications of a heart attack occur, such as cardiac arrest and death.
According to specialists, acute heart attack or acute myocardial infarction is commonly emerging as a significant cause of death amongst Indian diaspora. The symptoms occur as a result of sudden blockages, usually a clot, in an artery supplying blood to the heart.
What To Look For
Typical symptoms include heaviness, pressure or discomfort over the central part of the chest while at rest or on minimal exertion. This discomfort may radiate to either of the arms or both arms and shoulders. It may also radiate to the jaw, throat or back. Other symptoms include abnormal sweating or restlessness or a sudden onset of breathlessness with or without chest discomfort.
Atypical symptoms are far more common in patients with diabetes, the elderly and in female patients. These may include discomfort in the left or right side of the chest, pain in either of the arms without pain in the chest, upper abdominal pain or heartburn, nausea and vomiting, extreme weakness and giddiness or fall or loss of consciousness.
Modern technologies such as electrocardiograms greatly assist in diagnosing a heart attack. If a first ECG is insufficient, it may be repeated, in addition to blood tests done at the time of patient admission and within three hours. Tests such as a 2D echo can also further help the diagnosis.
Various treatments are available on a case-by-case basis. The standard treatment of an acute heart attack involves having to use a clot busting drug (thrombolysis) or primary percutaneous intervention (coronary angioplasty and stenting).
Primary angioplasty is the preferred option, in which a coronary angiogram is performed immediately to identify blockage.
The angioplasty is performed, usually requiring a stent (metallic scaffold), to open up the blood flow in the culprit artery.
What To Do
Prepare yourself or your loved ones by educating them on the signs and pay attention to even the slightest symptoms. Informing relatives at the onset is critical to receiving timely medical assistance and survival. Try to reach the nearest hospital with the best facilities and, most importantly, don’t forget to keep emergency contact details at hand.
As they say, prevention is better than cure, and a healthy lifestyle and diet can only help to maintain your heart.
Call 17 812-222.