Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which factors played a role in decreasing mortality rates after heart attacks?

Actually, some of the patients who have a heart attack die even before they reach the hospital. This figure is approximately 50% of those patients. On the other hand, cardiac arrest recurs in 15 to 20 percent of patients who reach the hospital. However, modern critical care could reduce this ratio below 15 percent. Considering novelties, the initial dramatic changes occurred in this way. First, some medications were developed to eliminate stenosis or occlusions of coronary arteries. Stenosis develops in coronary arteries as follows: A clot settles on the gradual-onset vascular stenosis and finally, the blood flow ceases completely. Novel medications disintegrate the clot that ceases the flow. Those medications could suppress the mortality rate below 10 percent. New therapeutic characteristics are ever increasingly added to novel medications. The last stage is the immediate intervention to the heart attack.

What should people living with patients with heart diseases do?

It is important to educate people, who live with persons with a heart disease potential, about first aid procedures. However, one should always remember that it was not those measures that decreased the global mortality rate substantially.

What are the symptoms of an heart attack?

One of the most remarkable symptoms is the chest pain. It is severely compressive and tightening in nature. Patient feels as if the chest is tightened with a cramp. However, it is not always manifested as mentioned above. In elderly patients, shortness of breath may be the only symptom. Numbed arms and back pain are also among the initial symptoms. The pain is usually associated with nausea and cold sweating. When the pain develops, actions should be taken without considering whether it is related to the heart or not. Electrocardiography and review of ECG by an internist or a general practitioner, even if a cardiologist is not available, is very important.

What is the immediate intervention to the heart attack?

It is clearly revealed out that it is the most important measure to save life, preceded by medication treatment. Early intervention is very important in heart attacks; if angiography verifies that stenosis or occlusion of the vessel can be eliminated, patient is immediately taken under observation and patency is achieved by implanting a stent. We know that early intervention decreases mortality rates below 5 percent. However, one should always remind that half of the patients die before they are transferred to the hospital.

What are the factors that dictate the success of immediate intervention in heart attacks?

These are the time to be transferred to the hospital and the time to start professional intervention at the hospital. After the vessel occludes, blood supply ceases and cells of the heart die in minutes. When it lasts for a couple of hours, a large portion of the heart tissue is lost.

What is the optimal time for an immediate intervention?

It is utmost important to employ immediate intervention within first six hours after the onset of complaints. This period can prolong up to 24 hours in some types of heart attack. However, there will be a dramatic difference between a patient who presents within the first one hour and the patient who presents 24 hours later. As the time elapses, number of the cells saved reduces.

Which treatment modalities are involved in an immediate intervention? Balloon dilatation and stent placements are commonly known ones. It is so?

Balloon dilatation and stent implantation are, in fact, the last options. Mortality rates can be reduced from 20% to 5% in healthcare facilities with modern intensive care units. Initially, angiography is performed or the vessels are mapped to determine which vessel is occluded and which intervention should be preferred for which location. We decide whether the condition is manageable or not. However, we create a road map that leads to success in 95% of the patients.   

Does immediate intervention in heart attack have other effects in addition to saving life of patients?

This intervention poses remarkable effects on the quality of the future life. Since a particular part of the heart tissue dies after the coronary artery occludes, the extent you decrease the volume of the dead tissues will reduce the risk of future heart failure. The risk of fatal rhythm disorders will also reduce. Correct and complete treatment is, therefore, very important to achieve patency of the vessel using an invasive method within a very short time.

What are your professional observations about the heart attack in elderly and young patients?

The situation becomes more complicated in elderly patients. However, the event follows somewhat more clamorous course in young patients. Generally, it is initially manifested by pain and patients feel symptoms more remarkably thereafter. Here, the wrong end of the stick is the necessity of gradual occlusion in order to supply blood into the occluded vessel by capillaries. Since the occlusion is not gradual in young patients, the capillary vessels cannot dilate sufficiently. Therefore, the initial phases follow more dramatic course. This situation is also faced in elderly patients with long-standing coronary artery disease. Even if the vessel occludes, the dilated capillaries can sustain blood supply, resulting in minimization of the tissue damage. Although initial symptoms are not very severe in elderly patients, comorbidities can further worsen the clinical picture.

What should diabetic patients take into consideration for heart attacks?

There are many specific conditions that require attention in many diabetic patients. Perception of pain is impaired. This is not the case in all patients, but it is, unfortunately, very common. Patients suffer a heart attack and do not even notice. One of the initial symptoms can be the shortness of breath. Therefore, diabetic patients should be very careful. They should not ignore or skip periodical follow-up visits and blood glucose monitoring. These measures can reduce the risk.

Actually, some of the patients who have a heart attack die even before they reach the hospital.This figure is approximately 50% of those patients. On the other hand, cardiac arrest recurs in 15 to 20 percent of patients who reach the hospital.However, modern critical care could reduce this ratio below 15 percent.Considering novelties, the initial dramatic changes occurred in this way.First, some medications were developed to eliminate stenosis or occlusions of coronary arteries.Stenosis develops in coronary arteries as follows:A clot settles on the gradual-onset vascular stenosis and finally, the blood flow ceases completely.Novel medications disintegrate the clot that ceases the flow.Those medications could suppress the mortality rate below 10 percent.New therapeutic characteristics are ever increasingly added to novel medications.The last stage is the immediate intervention to the heart attack.

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