Heart Attack Care:
Heart Attack Care: Percent of heart attack patients who received all recommended treatments based on their clinical condition:
*source: US Departments of Health and Human Services (http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/About/HOSInfo/Timely-Effective-Care.aspx)
The heart is a muscle that gets oxygen through blood vessels. Sometimes blood clots can block these blood vessels and the heart can’t get enough oxygen. This can cause a heart attack. Taking an aspirin as soon as symptoms of a heart attack begin may help reduce the severity of the attack.
Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI) are procedures that are among the most effective ways to open blocked blood vessels and help prevent further heart muscle damage. A PCI is performed by a doctor to open the blockage and increase blood flow in blocked blood vessels. Improving blood flow to your heart as quickly as possible lessens the damage to your heart muscle. It also can increase your chances of surviving a heart attack.
ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) are medicines used to treat patients with heart failure and are particularly beneficial to heart failure patients with decreased function on the left side of the heart. Early treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs in patients who have heart failure symptoms or decreased heart function after a heart attack can also reduce their risk of death from future heart attacks. ACE inhibitors and ARBs work by limiting the effects of a hormone that narrows blood vessels, and may thus lower blood pressure and reduce the work the heart has to perform.
Smoking increases your risk for developing blood clots and heart disease that can result in a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Smoking causes your arteries to thicken and your blood vessels to narrow. Fat and plaque stick to the walls of your arteries, which makes it harder for blood to flow. Reduced blood flow to your heart may result in chest pain, high blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. Smoking is also linked to lung disease and cancer, and can cause premature death. It is important that you get information to help you quit smoking before you leave the hospital. Quitting may help prevent another heart attack.
Blood clots can block blood vessels. Aspirin can help prevent blood clots from forming or help dissolve blood clots that have formed. Following a heart attack, continued use of aspirin may help reduce the risk of another heart attack.
Beta blockers are a type of medicine that is used to lower blood pressure, treat chest pain (angina) and heart failure, and to help prevent a heart attack. Beta blockers relieve the stress on your heart by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force with which your heart muscles contract to pump blood. They also help keep blood vessels from constricting in your heart, brain, and body. If you have a heart attack, you should get a prescription for a beta blocker before you leave the hospital.
Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat (also called a lipid) that your body needs to work properly. Cholesterol levels that are too high can increase your chance of getting heart disease, stroke, and other problems. For patients who have had one or more heart attacks and have high cholesterol, taking Statins can lower the chance that they’ll have another heart attack or die.