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Heart Attack and Unstable Angina - End-of-Life Decisions

Palliative care

If your condition gets worse, you may want to think about palliative care. This is care for people who have illnesses that do not go away and often get worse over time. It is different than care to cure your illness. Palliative care focuses on improving your quality of life—not just in your body, but also in your mind and spirit. Some people combine palliative care with curative care.

For more information, see the topic Palliative Care.

End-of-life decisions

Treatment for a heart attack is increasingly successful at prolonging life and reducing complications and hospitalization. But a heart attack can lead to problems that get worse over time, such as heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

It can be hard to have talks with your doctor and family about the end of your life. But making these decisions now may bring you and your family peace of mind. Your family won't have to wonder what you want. And you can spend your time focusing on your relationships.

You will need to decide if you want life-support measures if your health gets very bad. An advance directive is a legal document that tells doctors how to care for you at the end of your life. You also can say where you want to have care. And you can name someone who can make sure your wishes are followed.

For more information, see:

Your doctor may talk to you about your desire to be revived (resuscitated) if your heart stops pumping and you are unable to breathe on your own.

dplink.gif Advance Care Planning: Should I Receive CPR and Life Support?

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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