Treatment of a heart attack is one of the greatest success stories in modern medicine – majority of heart attack patients who receive timely treatment not only survive but are able to recover and return to normal routine life quickly.
However, any delay in taking action or seeking treatment post an attack means greater damage to the heart muscles. The damaged heart muscles can lead to potentially fatal complications which include valve leakage, heart rhythm disorders and ventricular dysfunction (blood pumping capacity of the heart gets affected).
Fortunately, with the newest breakthroughs in drug therapies and surgical procedures, several treatment options are now available which can help such patients live longer and improved lives.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I continue to have problems despite undergoing an angioplasty / bypass surgery after a heart attack?
Unless a successful angioplasty or bypass surgery is done within the first few hours (approximately within 6 hours)*, some damage to the heart muscle may be permanent and irreversible. Angioplasty/Bypass Surgery helps revive the flood flow and prevents further damage to the heart muscle but may not be able to retrieve heart muscle which is already permanently damaged. Hence, if a patient seeks delayed treatment, potential complications can occur even after an angioplasty or bypass surgery.
Who should seek treatment?
These complications are mostly progressive in nature, which means that some people may not become aware of their condition until years after the heart begins its decline. Hence it is important to get the heart evaluated if you have had a heart attack or a previous history of cardiac disease. Patients having indicative symptoms or an ejection fraction below 40%** should get evaluated without delay.
INDICATIVE SYMPTOMS IN SUCH PATIENTS
- Shortness of Breath / Palpitation
- Lack of appetite, nausea
- Persistent coughing (especially at night)
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness
- Swelling in legs & weight gain
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
What are the treatment options available?
It has been proven in several studies that only a small percentage of such patients receive appropriate evidence guided medical therapy even when they attend regular OPD. Increasingly such patients are advised to attend specialised OPDs called Heart failure Clinic or Ventricular Dysfunction Clinic where their condition can be effectively corrected or controlled via:
• Appropriate drug therapy
• Valve repair / replacement
• Surgically implanted devices (LVAD)
• Implantation of specialized devices (CRT (P), CRT (D), AICD and pacemakers