Myocardial Infarction & Heart Attack - Proper Treatment: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:50 by admin
Once a patient is diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, the medical response must be swift. A preventable delay in treatment is inexcusable. However, delays often occur when emergency medical technicians and physicians fail to recognize the symptoms of heart attack.

Myocardial infarction literally means "death of heart tissue." Such death is caused by oxygen deprivation, which in turn may be caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. Often, blocked or constricted arteries are to blame. The longer the heart is deprived of life sustaining blood and oxygen, the more damage is endured; hence the importance of rapid medical intervention.

At the first sign of a heart attack, most doctors administer aspirin. Aspirin may reduce the risk of developing blood clots. Failure to give aspirin may be malpractice.

Often, in order to facilitate blood flow to the heart, it is necessary to reopen blocked arteries. Such treatment may be accomplished through surgical procedures such as angioplasty and bypass surgery, or via drug therapies such as thrombolytic treatments. Again, time is of the essence and the sooner these techniques are employed the less damage is done to the heart, and in turn, survival chances increase.

Angioplasty involves inserting a small balloon into the clogged artery. Once the obstruction is detected, the balloon is inflated, reopening the artery. Sometimes, a metal mesh material known as a stint is inserted. The stint prevents the artery from constricting.

Rather than angioplasty, doctors may instead conduct a bypass procedure. In bypass surgery, a surgeon removes a vein from another part of the body (traditionally the leg) and connects the vein both above and below the blockage in the artery, thereby rerouting the blood around the blockage and into the heart.

An alternative to these surgical procedures involves thrombolytic therapy in which thrombolytic drugs are administered. Such drugs attack blood clots that may contribute to myocardial infarction.

Thrombolytic drugs are not without risks however. They may be dangerous to patients with a history of hemorrhagic stroke or excessive bleeding. If a doctor administers these types of drugs without first reviewing the patient's medical history, and the patient subsequently suffers injuries from internal bleeding or stroke, the doctor may be liable for malpractice.

In addition to the surgical and drug therapies that are employed to reopen arteries, doctors may prescribe anti-clotting drugs such as heparin to prevent new blood clots from forming. Also, nitroglycerin or morphine may be given to relieve chest pain, and beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors may be administered to reduce the body's demand on the heart.

If you or a loved one have received substandard medical care, don't pay for a doctor's mistake, contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

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See Also

  1. Myocardial Infarction & Heart Attack - Diagnosis Errors
  2. Digitek
  3. Blood Clots
  4. Excessive Bleeding: Overview
  5. Heart Attack Lawsuits
  6. Heart Failure: Overview
  7. Stroke
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