What problems arise after a heart attack ?
problems after heart attack, Problems arise because a portion of the heart is damaged during a heart attack. This can cause irregular heartbeats. The damage can also cause issues with the heart’s walls or valves.
The presence and severity of problems following a heart attack are determined by:
- The severity of the heart attack,
- The extent of heart damage,
- The location of heart damage
- Treatment time for Heart Attack
- Previous history of heart disease, diabetes, kidney and lung disorders
Concept of golden hour
Heart attack occurs because of sudden block in a major “coronary artery”. These arteries provide oxygen and nutrition to the heart. When they block, it is a race against time as the damage to heart muscle starts becoming irreversible in minutes to hours. Hence the concept of “golden hour” after the heart attack, during which the patient must reach the hospital and get treated to open the blood vessel. This is true even in the night and usually involves clot dissolving medicine or balloon angioplasty with stent PTCA. Truly “A stitch in time saves nine” and prevents later heart complications.
What complications can arise following a heart attack?
Various issues can arise in the days and weeks following a heart attack. Some problems are minor and treatable, while others can be fatal.
The following are the most common complications that can occur following a heart attack:
Abnormal heart rhythms – Each person’s heart contains an electrical system that regulates their heartbeat. The electrical signals that control the heartbeat can become abnormal after a heart attack, resulting in an abnormal heart rhythm. Arrhythmias are another term for abnormal heart rhythms.
People who have an abnormal heart rhythm may feel as if their heart is racing, skipping beats, or beating out of sync. Dizziness, fainting, and even death can result from an abnormal heart rhythm.
Treatment depends on the type of abnormal rhythm and the person’s symptoms and can include
- “Wait and Watch ” – If your abnormal heart rhythm isn’t too serious, the doctor may monitor it to see if it resolves on its own.
- Various types of medications
- A procedure is known as “cardioversion” involves applying an electrical current to the heart to correct its rhythm.
- An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (“ICD”) – This device is placed under a person’s skin near the heart (figure 2) and can detect and treat certain abnormal heartbeats.
Heart failure – is a condition in which the heart does not pump as efficiently as it should. This can result in symptoms such as swelling, difficulty in breathing, and fatigue. Heart failure after a heart attack can sometimes be temporary. Heart failure after a heart attack can also become a long-term issue.
Doctors can treat heart failure with a variety of medications. The medications can alleviate symptoms and make people feel better. Some medications help people live longer lives. Most people require more than one medication per day.
Inflammation of the lining around the heart – Doctors call it “pericarditis” when the lining around the heart becomes inflamed or irritated. Pericarditis can cause chest pain that worsens with coughing or deep breathing. It can also result in a fever.
If you have pericarditis, your doctor will most likely start treating it by increasing your daily aspirin dose. (Most people take aspirin every day after a heart attack.) They may also recommend another NSAID. If the inflammation causes fluid to accumulate around your heart, your doctor may drain it.
Other issues can arise following a heart attack, but they are much less common. These complications are common in the first few days after a heart attack and can be fatal. They are as follows:
- Tears in the heart muscle or the walls of the heart
- Heart valve complications
- Clots of blood in the lungs
These issues usually result in sudden and severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or passing out. They require immediate medical attention, which may include medications, surgery, or other procedures. If not treated these issues can result in death.
So it is advisable to regularly follow your post-treatment advice and checkup from your cardiologist.