- You will be hooked up to a heart monitor, so the health care team can look at how your heart is beating.
- You will receive oxygen so that your heart doesn't have to work as hard.
- An intravenous line (IV) will be placed into one of your veins. Medicines and fluids pass through this IV.
- You may get nitroglycerin and morphine to help reduce chest pain.
- You may receive aspirin, unless it would not be safe for you. In that case, you will be given another medicine that prevents blood clots.
- Dangerous abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) may be treated with medicine or electric shocks.
Angioplasty is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.
- Angioplasty is often the first choice of treatment. It should be done within 90 minutes after you get to the hospital, and usually no later than 12 hours after a heart attack.
- A stent is a small, metal mesh tube that opens up (expands) inside a coronary artery. A stent is often placed after or during angioplasty. It helps prevent the artery from closing up again.
You may be given drugs to break up the clot. It is best if these drugs are given within 3 hours of when you first felt the chest pain. This is called thrombolytic therapy.
Some patients may also have heart bypass surgery to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This procedure is also called open heart surgery.
TREATMENT AFTER A HEART ATTACK
After several days, you will be discharged from the hospital.
You will likely need to take medicines, some for the rest of your life. Always talk to your health care provider before stopping or changing how you take any medicines. Stopping certain medications can be deadly.
While under the care of your health care team, you will learn:
- How to take medicines to treat your heart problem and prevent more heart attacks
- How to eat a heart-healthy diet
- How to be active and exercise safely
- What to do when you have chest pain
- How to stop smoking
Strong emotions are common after a heart attack.
- You may feel sad
- You may feel anxious and worry about being careful about everything you do
All of these feelings are normal. They go away for most people after 2 or 3 weeks.
You may also feel tired when you leave the hospital to go home.
Most people who have had a heart attack take part in a cardiac rehabilitation program.