As with all muscles in the body, the heart needs oxygen. When the oxygen supply, delivered through blood flow, fails, a heart attack occurs. Plaque is a substance made up of cholesterol, fat and other substances, and it builds up in the arteries supplying the heart muscle in a condition called atherosclerosis. Plaque deposits break and blood clots form around these, blocking blood flow more completely. When these blockages result in damage to the heart muscle, the heart attack begins. This is also known as myocardial infarction.
The tissue that’s compromised by the heart attack heals in the form of scar tissue. Much depends on the extent of the damaged tissue. If the blockage affected only a small region, then the area will heal and the rest of the heart can compensate. However, heart strength and pumping capacity may be reduced, which contributes to further cardiovascular deterioration. Recovery usually involves both medical treatment and changes to lifestyle, particularly through diet, activity, and stress reduction.
The specific treatment depends on the type of heart attack that occurred, where it occurred and how much tissue is damaged. Restoring blood flow both improves heart health and prevents a recurrence. Clot-dissolving drugs and balloon angioplasty are 2 typical strategies for treatment. Approximately one-third of hospitals in the United States use a mechanical procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention to treat heart attack. There are many other techniques used in recovery plans. These include procedures such as:
The range of medications available for heart attack after-care is extensive. These include:
If you think you’re experiencing a heart attack, call 911 and get emergency medical treatment as soon as possible. To reduce your risk factors and review your heart health, make an appointment with Dr. Meshkov and his team today.
At Abington Cardiology, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.