Skip to content

    Heart Disease Health Center

    Select An Article

    Heart Attack Causes and Treatments

    (continued)
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Heart Attack Treatment

    A heart attack is a medical emergency. It must be quickly addressed by conventional medicine. At this point, alternative medicine cannot compete with standard drug therapy and surgical treatments. Alternative medicine may at other times, though, make valuable contributions to heart attack prevention and recovery.

    Conventional Response to a Heart Attack

    Heart attack victims undergo emergency procedures to restore blood flow to the heart and become stabilized.  Then, they are usually hospitalized in special coronary care units (CCU) for at least 36 hours. Standard drug therapy includes:

    • A painkiller such as morphine
    • Vasodilators such as nitroglycerine to expand blood vessels
    • Beta-adrenergic blocker drugs to calm the heart
    • Aspirin to reduce clotting activity
    • Other types of blood thinners to prevent clots from forming and for breaking up those that are already there.

    In some cases, clot-dissolving drugs like tPA or tenectaplase (TNKase) are also given. These drugs are most effective if given within a few hours of the beginning of a heart attack. And are the first choice if emergency angioplasty is not available.  Sometimes it is used if there is a delay in angioplasty. Emergency angioplasty, and possibly surgery, might be performed to remove a clot, reopen a clogged artery, or bypass blocked arteries.

    Once past the critical phase of a heart attack, patients continue to receive:

    In the hospital, electrocardiogram machines are used to monitor the heart and watch for rhythm abnormalities. If the heart starts beating too fast or too slow, various medications may be given. Some patients may be fitted with pacemakers. If a patient experiences a dangerous arrhythmia known as ventricular fibrillation, electric shock may be used to restore the normal rhythm. Patients who show signs of congestive heart failure receive a variety of medications to decrease strain on the heart and encourage the heart to beat more forcefully.

    People recovering from a heart attack are urged to get back on their feet as quickly as possible. Doing so reduces the chances of blood clots forming in the deep veins of the legs. These clots could travel through the circulatory system and lodge in the lung, creating a blockage. Gentle exercise is recommended, but nothing that requires significant exertion. Beginning exercise soon after suffering from a heart attack can help in improving the heart function and overall well being.  Cardiac rehabilitation programs with monitored exercise and lifestyle modification is a critical piece to recovery.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    x-ray of human heart
    A visual guide.
    atrial fibrillation
    Symptoms and causes.
     
    heart rate graph
    10 things to never do.
    heart rate
    Get the facts.
     
    empty football helmet
    Article
    red wine
    Video
     
    eating blueberries
    Article
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Slideshow
     
    Inside A Heart Attack
    SLIDESHOW
    Omega 3 Sources
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Salt Shockers
    SLIDESHOW
    lowering blood pressure
    SLIDESHOW