Heart Attack still remains a leading cause of death in developing countries and is becoming more common amongst the young expats living in the UAE. Despite the advancement in treatment over the past decade or two, several patients still die from this deadly condition, especially when the presentation is late, as the treatment is highly time-sensitive. The mainstay of treatment is opening the blocked artery and restoring blood flow to the heart as soon as possible to prevent heart muscle damage and life-threatening complications. There are two ways by which this can be done – a clot breaking injection (Thrombolysis) or by angioplasty, which is a procedure done to clear the blockage mechanically with a balloon and stent (Primary Angioplasty). Angioplasty has proven to be superior to Thrombolysis in clearing the block totally and preventing complications from a heart attack, including death.
Recently, a 44 yr old male presented to the Emergency Department at Aster Hospital, Mankhool with sudden onset of chest pain. He was promptly attended by the Emergency staff and was shifted to the observation area for an ECG. Whilst the nurse laid him down for an ECG, he suddenly lost consciousness and was found to have a cardiac arrest – heart-stopping completely. Dr. Muhammad Niaz Khan and the Emergency department code blue team arrived quickly and resuscitation was commenced. After delivering three electric shocks, his heart started functioning and the patient regained consciousness. An ECG confirmed a massive heart attack and he was transferred to the cath lab immediately for an Angiogram and Angioplasty. This confirmed a 100% block in one of the main heart arteries. Dr. Amal A. Louis, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Aster Hospital, Mankhool performed a Primary Angioplasty and successfully cleared the blockage in the heart artery, restoring blood supply to the heart. The patient subsequently made a good recovery and was discharged from the hospital after 48hrs in a stable condition. He is now back at work and enjoying his life with his family without any limitation in physical activity.
This case shows that timely intervention could save lives. “Had he come to the hospital half an hour later, this heart attack could have proved to be fatal. One should recognise symptoms of a heart attack early and arrive at the hospital early for treatment which could be life-saving”, commented Dr. Amal. It is a common practice to self-diagnose chest pains as gastric in nature and often patients present 24hrs (sometimes even few days) later when the heart is damaged and no intervention can reverse the harm occurred to the heart muscle. If the patient survives, they would have to live with a condition called heart failure, which is debilitating. “Therefore, one should live a wholesome life by following a healthy diet and regular exercise so that heart attacks can be prevented at the outset. However, if heart attack does occur due to various reasons that predispose it, early arrival at the hospital and access to life-saving treatment can save lives”, Dr. Amal emphasized.