Heart Attack (cont.)
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Heart Attack Treatment
If the EKG shows that there is an acute heart attack (myocardial infarction), the goal is to open the blocked artery as soon as possible and restore blood supply to the heart muscle.
When a heart attack strikes, the key thing to remember is that time equals muscle. The longer the delay in seeking medical care, the more heart muscle will be damaged. There is a window of opportunity to restore blood supply to the heart muscle by unblocking the affected heart artery. Treatments must be done in a hospital and include administration of clot-busting drugs to dissolve the clot at the site of the ruptured plaque and heart catheterization and angioplasty (in which the blood vessel is opened by balloon, often with adjunctive placement of a stent), or both.
Not all hospitals have the equipment or cardiologists available to perform emergency heart catheterizations, and thrombolytic therapy (the use of clot-busting drugs) may be the first step to open the blood vessel and return blood supply to the heart muscle.
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