Emergency medical treatment is vital – getting to hospital quickly and receiving specialist care greatly improves your chance of survival. If you have some aspirin, chew a single tablet, unless you know that you're allergic to it. Aspirin reduces blood clots and can help to prevent the clot that is blocking the artery from spreading.
In response to an emergency call for a suspected heart attack, the ambulance service will send a paramedic as soon as possible. Sit and rest in a position that is most comfortable until the paramedics arrive. He or she will give you initial treatment and provide transport to a hospital quickly and safely for further treatment. You may also be given oxygen and medicines for pain relief.
During or after a heart attack, you may have an irregular heart beat, known as arrhythmia. The most serious form of this is called ventricular fibrillation. This is when the electrical activity of the heart becomes chaotic and the heart stops pumping, and quivers or ‘fibrillates’ instead. This is known as a cardiac arrest and the paramedic may need to use a defibrillator, which gives a large electric shock through the wall of your chest and can restore a regular heartbeat.
Your treatment will depend on how severe your heart attack was. Once you arrive at hospital, your doctor will decide on the best treatment for you.
How could blood flow be restored in blocked artery?
There are two commonly used ways to restore blood flow in a blocked artery.
- Thrombolysis. This is an injection to break down the clot in your coronary artery. Your chance of making a full recovery from your heart attack is much better if the clot is dissolved. However, thrombolytic medicines can increase your risk of bleeding and having a stroke so you may not be given these if you're at an increased risk of this, for example if you have recently had surgery.
- A coronary angioplasty. This can be done as an emergency procedure (also known as a primary angioplasty) or as a planned procedure. A coronary angioplasty aims to widen your artery by inflating a balloon in your narrowed or blocked coronary artery. A wire mesh tube called a stent is usually inserted to hold the coronary artery open.
Sometimes a coronary angioplasty isn't possible, for example if the blockages in your arteries are too long for a stent or they’re difficult to get to, and you may be offered a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) instead. CABG is an operation to bypass a narrowed section of your coronary artery using a blood vessel from your chest, leg or arm. This diverts the flow of blood around the narrowed or blocked coronary artery.