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Staying Up-to-Date: Heart Attack Guidelines

What Are the Latest Heart Attack Guidelines?

Every year the rules change. The one constant about sports is that during the off season and sometimes during the year, the commissioner, the president, or the owners will sit down and tinker with the way the game is played. Doesn't matter which sport, it happens to all of them. The referees and players get updates and adapt their play to the new rules. Ever diligent, the fan follows along, learns, and adapts to the changes. How else can the referee or umpire be second-guessed, except by those who really care about the game?

But the rules change for the world outside sports as well, and never more frequently or dramatically than in medicine. Every aspect of medicine from diagnosis to treatment, medications to technology, is exposed to newer and potentially better ways of doing things.

Heart attack is a good example of what was - and what is. Twenty-five years ago the treatment for a myocardial infarction or heart attack was hospitalization for two or three weeks followed by a gentle exercise program that limited walking to a few feet per day. Now patients who had bypass surgery are up and walking out of the hospital in four or five days.

We learned about intravenous medications to stabilize hearts. TPA was discovered, and medical care changed from being reactive to proactive since a clot-busting drug could be used to reverse heart attacks. Then came emergency angioplasty and stents to open up blocked heart blood vessels as the heart attack was occurring, aborting the attack and fixing the problem at the same time.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/9/2017

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