What happens after a heart attack?

What happens after a heart attack?

Treatment options and the outlook for a patient varies greatly, so there isn't a hard and fast rule over what happens after a heart attack. But in most cases, a person is in the hospital for a few days – longer if there were complications. Patients aren’t sent home until their condition is stable. A lot depends on when the symptoms started, what they were, and how soon you get medical attention:

  • Symptoms that started within the last 12 hours: 
    You could be offered a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), which involves inserting a small balloon to stretch open blocked arteries, before leave a wire-mesh tube - known as a stent - inside the artery to hold it in place.

  • Symptoms that started within the last 12 hours (but no PCI)
    It is likely you would be offered medication to break down any blood clots.

  • Symptoms that are over 12 hours old
    You’ll probably have an angiogram - like an X-ray for your heart – and then your treatments could from PCI and medication to bypass surgery.

How long does it take to recover from a heart attack?

It depends on individual medical history; age; the length of time between when the heart attack occurred and when the person received treatment – and the approach to recovery.

What’s most important, is that patients take good note of advice to restore physical fitness (this is known as cardiac rehabilitation), and to reduce the risk of another heart attack. But a ‘normal’ pace of life is often possible as soon as four to six weeks after a heart attack.

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