Health > Heart Attack > Treatment for Heart Attack
Treatment for Heart Attack
If you think you are having a heart attack, seek help immediately. Do not ignore chest pain or discomfort. Time is of vital importance. Go immediately to a hospital emergency department. The goals of medication therapy are to break up or prevent blood clots, prevent platelets from gathering and sticking to the plaque, stabilize the plaque, and prevent further ischemia. These medications must be given as soon as possible (within 30 minutes from the start of heart attack symptoms) to decrease the amount of damage to the heart muscle.
The longer the delay in starting these drugs, the more damage that occurs and the less benefit they can provide. Medications given right after the start of a heart attack may include:
- Thrombolytic therapy ("clot busters")
- Other antiplatelet drugs
- Any combination of the above
During or shortly after a heart attack, you may go to the cardiac catheterization laboratory to directly evaluate the status of your heart, arteries and the amount of heart damage.