Patients who experience a heart attack should not think that the symptoms they feel are actually a false alarm
When symptoms of a heart attack occur gradually and do not follow after a major effort, patients are less likely to turn to emergency room doctors, US scientists concluded.
Of the 474 patients in the US who went to the emergency room with a dangerous decrease in blood flow to the heart muscle, those whose symptoms appeared gradually took six hours longer than recommended to call for help and arrive at the hospital, US doctors found.
They recalled that because of blood flow to the heart muscle, the heart cells began to die off, and the patient felt more severe or less pain in the chest. Namely, they did not recognize such gradual symptoms or take them seriously, though they were considering calling an ambulance.
Intervention required within two hours
As a consequence of the emergency call, The study found that patients with gradual symptom onset took eight hours to get medical help compared to 2.57 hours for those with abrupt symptoms. A maximum delay of two hours is recommended to get fast treatment and the best outcomes; serious complications and death are more likely beyond this window, he team of scientists has published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.
The American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendations state that heart attack patients are advised to receive appropriate medical care less than two hours from the onset of symptoms to ensure the best chance of avoiding permanent damage to the heart muscle.
In a sudden heart attack, patients feel very severe chest pain from the outset. However, the symptoms of a gradual attack may not indicate a heart attack, the authors note.
Do not ignore the symptoms
These are usually a feeling of mild discomfort in the middle of the chest that lasts for a few minutes or disappears and reappears, pain in one or both hands, in the back, neck, jaw or abdominal cavity, shortness of breath, and symptoms you do not normally feel, such as sudden the onset of cold sweat, nausea, fainting, general fatigue or the inexplicable feeling that everything will collapse.
“Patients who experience a heart attack should not think that the symptoms they feel are actually a false alarm,” said Dr. Sahereh Mirzaei, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is also the study leader. “Call 112 and get to the ambulance as soon as possible.”
The authors analyzed data on patients who participated in a larger study. The results of their analysis focused on 343 men and 131 women aged 29-93.
Almost half have gradual symptoms
Due to health problems, they were admitted to emergency departments in the nearest hospitals, and it was later confirmed that it was an acute coronary syndrome – a sudden decrease in blood flow to the heart muscle.
Almost half of the respondents, about 44 percent, reported gradual symptoms of heart attack, while others reported sudden. Interestingly, half of the respondents took four hours or more to call the ambulance service.
An atypical heart attack was more common in younger patients, aged 35 to 40 years or older, over 75 years, as well as in patients with diabetes, and especially in women.