THE IMPENDING HEART ATTACK AND THE ACUTE STAGE: THE DANGERS OF THE FIRST HOURS
Statistical studies show that the most crucial phase from the onset of the symptoms to the contact with a physician lasts an average of three to seven hours. As a result of technical advances and progress in drug therapy, the mortality rate of acute heart attacks in the hospital has been reduced to one-half of the original rate in the last few years. However, a majority of patients with heart attacks die outside the hospital. Therefore, it would be best if the physician could reach the patient as soon as possible in the earliest phase of the acute heart attack. The patient should be brought to the hospital, preferably to the intensive care unit if it is at all possible to transport him. In the early phase of the heart attack, any number of serious complications can arise which require all the technical assistance and skilled personnel the clinic can muster. The family doctor simply cannot prevent and treat dangerously abnormal heart rhythm, shock, and cardiac insufficiency in the private home.
How can this critical period of decision-making between the first symptoms, the contact with the physician, and hospitalization be reduced? Presumably by means of education through mass media in order to make everyone aware of the symptoms of an impending heart attack. However, it has
happened that patients with symptoms of dyscardia are rushed to the hospital in ambulances for no good reason. But in such a case, it is necessary to determine the lesser of two evils. Is it not better to sound the alarm for ten different suspected cases of heart attack which are actually not serious, than to forego a life-saving chance one time when it is crucial?
Cardio & Blood