The length of time depends on the extent of your injury and your own rate of healing. The heart is a very tough organ. Even though a part of it may have been severely injured, the rest of the heart keeps working. But, because of the damage, your heart may be weakened, and unable to pump as much blood as usual. Learn more about heart damage detection.
The heart muscle begins to heal soon after a heart attack. It usually takes about eight weeks to heal. Scar tissue may form in the damaged area, and that scar tissue does not contract or pump as well as healthy muscle tissue. As a consequence, the extent of damage to the heart muscle can impact how well the heart pumps blood throughout the body.
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How much pumping function is lost depends on the size and location of the scar tissue. Taking these steps can help you lead a full, productive life. Learn more about recovering from heart attack. One very common type of chest pain is called angina.
Acute coronary syndrome ACS : An umbrella term for situations where the blood supplied to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked. Learn more about ACS. STEMI: A common name for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage in a coronary artery. Myocardial infarction MI : The damaging or death of an area of the heart muscle myocardium resulting from a blocked blood supply to that area.
Coronary thrombosis: Formation of a clot in one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. Also called coronary occlusion. Coronary occlusion: An obstruction of a coronary artery that hinders blood flow to some part of the heart muscle. Coronary occlusion is a cause of heart attack. Sometimes a coronary artery temporarily contracts or goes into spasm.
When this happens the artery narrows, and blood flow to part of the heart muscle decreases or stops. The causes of spasms are unclear. A spasm can occur in normal-appearing blood vessels as well as in vessels partly blocked by atherosclerosis. A severe spasm can cause a heart attack. Another rare cause of heart attack is spontaneous coronary artery dissection, which is a spontaneous tearing of the coronary artery wall. With sudden cardiac arrest SCA , the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem.
A heart attack can cause a cardiac arrest. In cardiac arrest also called sudden cardiac death or SCD , death results when the heart suddenly stops working properly. This is caused by irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias. The most common arrhythmia in cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation. Death occurs within minutes after the heart stops. Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation is performed and a defibrillator is used within minutes to shock the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm.
Learn more about the differences between heart attack and cardiac arrest. Connect with other heart attack survivors and caregivers through our Support Network. Heart attack questions and answers What is a heart attack? About every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.
Is my heart permanently damaged? Wires connect the patches to a small, portable recorder. The recorder can be clipped to a belt, kept in a pocket, or hung around your neck. A nuclear heart scan shows how well blood is flowing through your heart and how much blood is reaching your heart muscle. During a nuclear heart scan, a safe, radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into your bloodstream through a vein.
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The tracer travels to your heart and releases energy. Special cameras outside of your body detect the energy and use it to create pictures of your heart. A positron emission tomography PET scan is a type of nuclear heart scan. It shows the level of chemical activity in areas of your heart. This test can help your doctor see whether enough blood is flowing to these areas.
A PET scan can show blood flow problems that other tests might not detect. During cardiac catheterization KATH-eh-ter-ih-ZA-shun , a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin upper thigh , or neck and threaded to your heart. This allows your doctor to look inside your coronary heart arteries. During this procedure, your doctor can check the pressure and blood flow in your heart chambers, collect blood samples, and use x rays to look at your coronary arteries. Coronary angiography an-jee-OG-rah-fee usually is done with cardiac catheterization.
A dye that can be seen on x ray is injected into your bloodstream through the tip of the catheter. The dye allows your doctor to see the flow of blood to your heart muscle.
Angiography also shows how well your heart is pumping. Some heart problems are easier to diagnose when your heart is working hard and beating fast. During stress testing , you exercise to make your heart work hard and beat fast. You may walk or run on a treadmill or pedal a bicycle. If you can't exercise, you may be given medicine to raise your heart rate. Cardiac MRI magnetic resonance imaging uses radio waves, magnets, and a computer to create pictures of your heart as it's beating. The test produces both still and moving pictures of your heart and major blood vessels.
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A cardiac MRI can show whether parts of your heart are damaged. Doctors also have used MRI in research studies to find early signs of heart failure, even before symptoms appear. Thyroid function tests show how well your thyroid gland is working. These tests include blood tests, imaging tests, and tests to stimulate the thyroid. Having too much or too little thyroid hormone in the blood can lead to heart failure. Treatment for heart failure depends on the type and severity of the heart failure.
Treatment of a Heart Attack | American Heart Association
If you have severe heart failure, you also may need medical procedures or surgery. Your doctor may recommend heart-healthy lifestyle changes if you have heart failure. Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include:. Your doctor will prescribe medicines based on the type of heart failure you have, how severe it is, and your response to certain medicines. The following medicines are commonly used to treat heart failure:. Take all medicines regularly, as your doctor prescribes. You should still follow a heart healthy lifestyle, even if you take medicines to treat your heart failure.
You should watch for signs that heart failure is getting worse. For example, weight gain may mean that fluids are building up in your body.
Ask your doctor how often you should check your weight and when to report weight changes. Getting medical care for other related conditions is important. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, work with your health care team to control these conditions. Have your blood sugar level and blood pressure checked. Talk with your doctor about when you should have tests and how often to take measurements at home.
Talk with your doctor or nurse about getting flu and pneumonia vaccines. Many people who have severe heart failure may need treatment in a hospital from time to time. Your doctor may recommend oxygen therapy , which can be given in a hospital or at home. As heart failure worsens, lifestyle changes and medicines may no longer control your symptoms.
You may need a medical procedure or surgery. In heart failure, the right and left sides of the heart may no longer contract at the same time. This device helps both sides of your heart contract at the same time, which can decrease heart failure symptoms. Some people who have heart failure have very rapid, irregular heartbeats. Your doctor might implant an implantable cardioverter defibrillator ICD near your heart to solve this problem. An ICD checks your heart rate and uses electrical pulses to correct irregular heart rhythms.
You'll likely have to take medicine and follow a treatment plan for the rest of your life. Despite treatment, symptoms may get worse over time. You may not be able to do many of the things that you did before you had heart failure. However, if you take all the steps your doctor recommends, you can stay healthier longer. Treatment can relieve your symptoms and make daily activities easier. It also can reduce the chance that you'll have to go to the hospital.
Thus, it's important that you follow your treatment plan. These actions can lead to a hospital stay. If you have trouble following your diet, talk with your doctor. He or she can help arrange for a dietitian to work with you. Avoid drinking alcohol. People who have heart failure often have other serious conditions that require ongoing treatment.
If you have other serious conditions, you're likely taking medicines for them as well as for heart failure. Taking more than one medicine raises the risk of side effects and other problems. Make sure your doctors and your pharmacist have a complete list of all of the medicines and over-the-counter products that you're taking. Tell your doctor right away about any problems with your medicines. Also, talk with your doctor before taking any new medicine prescribed by another doctor or any new over-the-counter medicines or herbal supplements.
Try to avoid respiratory infections like the flu and pneumonia. Ask your doctor or nurse about getting flu and pneumonia vaccines. Living with heart failure may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Talk about how you feel with your health care team. Talking to a professional counselor also can help. If you're very depressed, your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life. Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to living with heart failure. You can see how other people who have the same symptoms have coped with them.
Talk with your doctor about local support groups or check with an area medical center. Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you. Learn more about participating in a clinical trial. View all trials from ClinicalTrials. Visit Children and Clinical Studies to hear experts, parents, and children talk about their experiences with clinical research. Heart Failure. Also known as Congestive heart failure. What Is - Heart Failure. Overview Heart failure develops over time as the heart's pumping action grows weaker.
Outlook Heart failure is a very common condition. Other Names - Heart Failure. Congestive heart failure. Left-side heart failure. This is when the heart can't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. Right-side heart failure. This is when the heart can't fill with enough blood. Cor pulmonale. This term refers to right-side heart failure caused by high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries and right ventricle lower right heart chamber. Causes - Heart Failure. High Blood Pressure Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Other Heart Conditions or Diseases Other conditions and diseases also can lead to heart failure, such as: Arrhythmia.
Happens when a problem occurs with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. Happens when the heart muscle becomes enlarged, thick, or rigid. Congenital heart defects. Heart valve disease. Other Factors Other factors also can injure the heart muscle and lead to heart failure. Risk Factors - Heart Failure. Heart failure is more common in: People who are age 65 or older. Aging can weaken the heart muscle. Older people also may have had diseases for many years that led to heart failure. Heart failure is a leading cause of hospital stays among people on Medicare. Blacks are more likely to have heart failure than people of other races.
Excess weight puts strain on the heart. These diseases can lead to heart failure. People who have had a heart attack. Damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack and can weaken the heart muscle. Screening and Prevention - Heart Failure. For People Who Have Healthy Hearts If you have a healthy heart, you can take action to prevent heart disease and heart failure. To reduce your risk of heart disease: Avoid using illegal drugs. Adopt heart-healthy lifestyle habits. Follow all of the steps listed above.
Talk with your doctor about what types and amounts of physical activity are safe for you. Treat and control any conditions that can cause heart failure. Take medicines as your doctor prescribes. See your doctor for ongoing care. Signs, Symptoms, and Complications - Heart Failure.
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The most common signs and symptoms of heart failure are: Shortness of breath or trouble breathing Fatigue tiredness Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and veins in the neck All of these symptoms are the result of fluid buildup in your body. Heart Failure Signs and Symptoms. Diagnosis - Heart Failure. Thus, your doctor will take these steps: Find out whether you have a disease or condition that can cause heart failure, such as ischemic heart disease , high blood pressure , or diabetes.
Rule out other causes of your symptoms. Find any damage to your heart and check how well your heart pumps blood. Medical and Family Histories Your doctor will ask whether you or others in your family have or have had a disease or condition that can cause heart failure. Physical Exam During the physical exam, your doctor will: Listen to your heart for sounds that aren't normal Listen to your lungs for the sounds of extra fluid buildup Look for swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and the veins in your neck Diagnostic Tests No single test can diagnose heart failure. Echocardiography Echocardiography echo uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart.
Doppler Ultrasound A Doppler ultrasound uses sound waves to measure the speed and direction of blood flow. Doctors often use Doppler ultrasound to help diagnose right-side heart failure. Holter Monitor A Holter monitor records your heart's electrical activity for a full or hour period, while you go about your normal daily routine. Nuclear Heart Scan A nuclear heart scan shows how well blood is flowing through your heart and how much blood is reaching your heart muscle. A nuclear heart scan can show where the heart muscle is healthy and where it's damaged.
Cardiac Catheterization During cardiac catheterization KATH-eh-ter-ih-ZA-shun , a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin upper thigh , or neck and threaded to your heart. Coronary Angiography Coronary angiography an-jee-OG-rah-fee usually is done with cardiac catheterization.
Stress Test Some heart problems are easier to diagnose when your heart is working hard and beating fast. Heart tests, such as nuclear heart scanning and echo, often are done during stress testing. Cardiac MRI Cardiac MRI magnetic resonance imaging uses radio waves, magnets, and a computer to create pictures of your heart as it's beating. Thyroid Function Tests Thyroid function tests show how well your thyroid gland is working. Treatment - Heart Failure.