1. A patient presented with classic symptoms of a heart attack. A blood clot had formed in a coronary artery narrowed by atherosclerotic plaque formation, usually related to high blood lipoproteins such as triglycerides, cholesterol, and lipids. This, in turn, cuts off the blood supply to an area of heart muscle, medically called ischemia.
2. Symptoms include acute chest pain, often radiating down the arm, sweating, vomiting, and shortness of breath.
3. His wife called 911 and within minutes emergency response personnel were administering life-saving care, including medication, breathing assistance, and other measures. Transported to the emergency room, diagnostic tests such as the electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, MRI and serum cardiac markers helped confirm an acute myocardial infarction commonly called a heart attack.
4. This critically ill patient was admitted to the hospital's coronary care unit where he received around-the-clock care. Cardiologists, critical care nurses and monitoring of cardiac damage by blood tests and procedures such as the angiogram are critical to helping a patient recovering from a heart attack. Mr. Dixon received aspirin, anticoagulants (Streptokinase) to prevent further clots, a beta blocker medication to reduce cardiac demand and continued monitoring of essential serum cardiac markers.
5. After hospitalization for several days, the patient was released to further recover at home. He will have to make several lifestyle changes to include smoking cessation, exercise, diet and stress reduction. Medications are available to reduce cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure and other abnormalities that contribute to coronary heart disease risk.
6. Myocardial infarction (heart attack) is the number one cause of death in the United States. It is fatal if not treated. Although heart damage always occurs in a heart attack, the patient's who are treated may continue to live for many years.
7. Emergency medical technicians gave initial care to the patient. They were relieved at the hospital by an emergency room team consisting of emergency room doctors and nurses. Medical laboratory technologists performed blood testing to determine cardiac enzyme levels. After admittance to the CCU, a specialized team of nurses and a cardiologist monitored Mr. Dixon. The cardiovascular team was responsible for the electrocardiogram (EKG technologist), and the angiogram (cardiovascular technologist and cardiologist).