How to treat a heart attack: Steps

by Rutherford HospitalOctober 16, 2018

Heart attack is one of the most lethal killers in nature today. Millions are affected by heart attack. Treatment has come a long way in the past decade. Treatment for cardiac arrest varies from lifestyle changes to stents and bypass surgery. Many types of tests are run before a treatment mode is prescribed for a patient.

Tests for determination of severity:

ECG: Electrocardiogram is one of the most widely used tests to measure heart activity. Two electrodes are attached to the skin through which electrical impulses are propagated. The impulses are recorded as waves on a monitor or is printed on paper. Injured heart muscles cannot conduct electricity properly and this test makes use of that property to check if a heart attack is in progress.

treat a heart attack

Blood tests: Certain proteins from the heart leak into blood stream after an attack. Doctors take samples of your blood to test for these enzymes.

Additionally Chest X-Rays, Angiogram, CT Scan, Exercise-Stress tests are also run to precisely find the problem and prescribe the right medication.


Medication given for cardiac arrest are as follows:

  1. Paracetamol: The emergency personnel will first give a paracetamol to the person who suffered the attack. This prevents blood from clotting in the narrowed artery.
  2. Antiplatelet agents: Doctors may give the person drugs known as platelet aggregation inhibitors. These prevent formation of new clots and enlargement of older clots.
  3. Other blood thinning medication includes heparin which is injected under the skin to make the blood less viscous.
  4. Thrombolytics: These called clotbusters dissolve an existing clot that’s blocking blood flow to the heart. This reduces the heart damage after suffering from a heart attack.
  5. Statins: These drugs control blood cholesterol.
  6. Nitroglycerin: This helps in the dilation of blood vessels and improves the blood flow thereby reducing chest pain.
  7. Beta blockers: These muscles relax your heart muscles, slow your heartbeat, decrease blood pressure and limits damage to heart muscles. It is efficient at preventing future heart attacks.
  8. ACE inhibitors: Lowers blood pressure and reducing strain of the heart.


There are mainly two surgical procedures that are very commonly used to treat cardiac arrests:

Artery Bypass Surgery:

  • This is generally done after the heart has been given enough time to recover from the attack that is generally 3-7 days after the attack.
  • Bypass surgery includes sewing of veins and arteries in place beyond a blocked artery which allows the blood to flow freely to the heart.
  • Even after the patient has been stabilized they are likely to remain in the hospital for a short duration.

Angioplasty/ Stenting:

  • This process is also known as “PERCUTANEOUS CORONARY INTERVENTION.”
  • Doctors insert a long catheter that’s passed through the groin or the wrist to a blocked artery in the heart. This procedure is done after cardiac catheterization which is used to find blockages.
  • The catheter is attached with an inflatable balloon that once at the site of blockage is briefly inflated to open a block.
  • A metal mash stent is often used to keep the artery open for a long duration

Often the stent is coated with a slow-releasing medication to help keep your artery open.

These are some of the most common treatments for cardiac arrest.

Copyright @ 2018- All rights reserved.