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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Symptoms of Heart Attack and First-Aid

Posted by Prahallad Panda on 6:47 AM Comments

Pain in acute myocardial infarction (front)Distribution of Pain In Heart Attack.
Heart continuously pumps blood along with nutrients and oxygen to all the parts of body. It is a muscular organ; needs oxygen and nutrition for its survival. Those blood vessels which supply the heart are called coronary arteries. There are two main trunks which branch off to supply oxygen and nutrition to all the parts of heart. If any of these feeding channels is blocked there occurs starvation death of the part of the heart. It ranges from milder attack to massive one depending on the size of artery blocked. The most common cause is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a plaque of bad fat, calcium and some components of blood; deposited in the inner layer of the coronary artery. These plaques rupture and block; or as such narrow the lumen and block the blood supply beyond the site. That causes death of the tissue.
The main and classical symptom of heart attack is pain in the left side of chest, called angina. It may be localized to the site or may radiate to left arm, neck, back, upper abdomen and to the right side. It is felt as a squeezing pain in the chest, as if something is restricting movement of the chest wall; or it may be a mild discomfort at the other end of the scenario. Effort exaggerates the pain and rest in a head end elevated laying down position may relieve it to some extent. The patient may have sweating, difficulty in breathing to absence of respitation, dizziness to unconsciousness or absence of peripheral pulses. He or she may have vomiting or involuntary passage of stool or urine. The body temperature may be sub-normal and skin may be cold and calmly with goose bumps. The patient may be suffering from diabetes and/or hypertension.
In these circumstances, the nearby person becomes the life savior for the patient. The heart needs to be restarted, if the person is unconscious and does not have a pulse or respiration. The procedure is called cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Here, a left sided forceful chest compression and mouth to mouth respiration in the ratio of 4:1 is given. If two persons are available for the purpose, it is better; but can be done by one. If a defibrillator is available should be used. I think, performed in an efficient manner can save some lives. If the person is not unconscious, he can be given mouth dissolving aspirin, if available; that will save the victim from more massive damage to the heart. If tablet of nitroglycerin is available should be put below the tongue. Oxygen, if available should be utilized and patient be transported to the nearest hospital first; be it a primary health center.
The immediately available person can help a victim of heart attack by performing CPR and making use of the commonly available household medicines.

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