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On your guard for a heart attack
Shweta Venkatesh | 29 Jul 2013

In certain instances, a cardiac arrest might strike a young patient, who has no prior risk factors. The key is to recognise the symptoms of an attack and respond quickly

 

The news of the recent death of a 24-year-old actor due to heart attack in the city was received with  shock and trepidation. It got us thinking about the growing incidence of cardiac problems among the very young and seemingly fit. While in that case, smoking seemed to be the major risk factor, cardiologists point out that of late, a lot of young people are falling victim to heart ailments despite not having any known risk factors.

Young Bangalore-based professional Dhananjay (not his real name) learnt this the hard way, when he was caught unawares with an acute heart attack. The 31-year-old was otherwise medically fit – was a non-smoker, did not have cholesterol or obesity problems and was not suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure). Luckily for him, he and his friends were somewhat aware of the symptoms and recognized that he might be having an attack and would need emergency medical help.

 

Dhananjay had been feeling uncomfortable and he complained of chest pain. Even though he had no risk factors or lifestyle-related causes, he took heed of the warning signals. His friends also suspected that something was amiss and suggested that he be rushed to a hospital immediately.

The young professional and those around him did not call an ambulance, as they decided that waiting for one might be fatal for him. So his friend put him on his motorcycle pillion and took him to Fortis Hospitals on Bannerghatta Road within a couple of hours of the symptoms showing up.

“This young patient had no major risk factors that could have deemed him a candidate for heart attack. In fact, he was quite healthy and did not even have a family history of cardiac ailments. But we have to understand that increasingly heart ailments are striking without warning and those who may show no contributing risk factors could also be susceptible. So it is important in such situations to be aware of symptoms and how to respond to the emergency. Any lax or ignorance might cost the patient his life,” said Dr Vikrant Veeranna, Consultant Cardiologist at Fortis Hospitals.            

But quick thinking and a basic knowledge of medical emergencies seemed to have saved Dhananjay’s life.  According to Dr Vikrant, timing is the most important factor during a heart attack as it could mean the difference between life and death. In Dhananjay’s case, bringing the patient in the nick of time saved him. “As soon as he was brought in we gave him CPR. In fact, when we were attending to him after he was brought into the emergency department of the hospital, the patient suffered a cardiac arrest.  Since he was already in a medical centre with all the facilities, we were able to revive him,” the doctor added.         

A primary angioplasty was done within a few hours of Dhananjay being wheeled into the hospital, so the damage to his heart muscles was minimal.                

When sudden heart attack strikes, the most effective and successful treatment is known to be

Primary Angioplasty. This is a procedure to remove blocks in the arteries leading to the heart that

prevent blood flow to the organ.  

 “After conducting tests, we found that the patient had blocks in the main arteries leading to the heart. Angioplasty was done and two stents were inserted into the arteries to keep them open and facilitate blood flow. He has now recovered completely and is doing quite well,” Dr Vikrant added.