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Heart Attack and Acute Coronary Syndrome

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Heart attacks must be treated promptly to minimize heart damage and address blockages. This may include the use of both drugs and surgical procedures. Treatment is also given to relieve the acute symptoms associated with heart attacks and acute coronary syndrome. Once the initial attack or episode has been resolved, other treatments and lifestyle changes are frequently prescribed and implemented to help decrease the risk of recurrence.

As in all heart diseases, controlling blood pressure (reducing hypertension) is a primary concern. Drugs, such as digoxin, which helps the heart increase contractions, and antiarrhythmics, such as procainamide, which help synchronize the contractions, may also be used, depending on how the heart is reacting. Other medications may also be prescribed, including beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, anticoagulants, antiplatelet medicines, and drugs that dissolve or split up blood clots (thrombolytic medications). For unstable angina, a baby aspirin is considered a first-line treatment. Sometimes medical procedures are needed, such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting. Your healthcare practitioner may also prescribe diet and exercise changes appropriate to your condition.

For more information, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: How is a Heart Attack Treated?

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