If you suspect you are having a heart attack, you should stop all physical activity immediately and lie or sit down. Alert anyone near you to call 911 for immediate medical attention and it is important to get to the nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and direct-current shock (defibrillation) are essential for survival of sudden cardiac death.
In the early stages after a heart attack, the most important early treatment is with drugs to dissolve the clot by chewing an aspirin. Therefore a conscious victim of a heart attack should chew one regular strength aspirin. Chewing of the aspirin will help to speed up its absorption. It has been proven that taking an aspirin while an acute heart attack is in progress can reduce the death rate by about 25%. Aspirin is effective in inhibiting blood clotting hence it helps to improve and maintain blood flow through a narrowed heart artery. Aspirin helps to thin the blood so that it does not clot easily.
The damaged heart muscle can become very irritable and produce irregular heart rhythms and in serious cases can cause the heart to stop beating completely. In the hospital, patients suffering from a heart attack are usually treated in a special ward where the heart rhythms are monitored closely for the first 24 to 48 hours which is considered the danger period.
If the patient does not respond satisfactorily to coronary angioplasty or if the medical team attending to the patient finds it technically difficult for the patient to recover properly, they would most likely consider a coronary artery bypass graft. A coronary artery bypass graft is the major cardiac surgery performed most commonly. It is more commonly performed as an elective surgery than an emergency operation. Surgeons usually perform it when coronary angioplasty is not successful or is not appropriate. Coronary artery bypass graft makes a bypass to reestablish blood circulation around the blocked segment of the coronary artery. A saphenous vein obtained from the leg is installed as a bypass vessel so that blood flow from around the blockage from the largest arterial trunk to the coronary artery.
Early diagnosis followed by effective early medical care is extremely important for a better chance of survival and a good outcome.