AMI (commonly known as ‘Heart Attack’), is one of the common medical emergencies a Cardiologist is called to handle. The condition, caused by a sudden blockage of blood flow in the coronary arteries (supplying blood to the heart) can be fatal in nearly 50% cases within the first hour and many lives may be lost by delay in diagnosis and treatment. Though most of the victims suffer from chest pain (usually described as a severe heaviness or pressure across the chest, many may feel no pain (silent attack) or may only have breathlessness or sweating as the first symptom. Immediate shifting of the patient to a hospital and an urgent Electrocardiogram (ECG) is essential to the early diagnosis of AMI. If the patient with AMI can be treated with a thrombolytic (clot-dissolving) drug like Streptokinase or Tenecteplase within the first 6 hours of the chest pain, he can expect a rapid improvement in symptoms as well as survival.
For patients who can reach a cardiology centre with catheterization laboratory within the ‘Window period’, immediate coronary angioplasty (Primary Coronary Angioplasty) and restoring blood flow to the ischaemic myocardium within the first 24 hrs, may yield very satisfying results with early discharge from hospital and rapid return to work.
Dr. Col. Sitaram, MBBS, Md,Dm(CARD), FISE,FICC
Cardiologist, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.
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