|How To Stop A Heart Attack In Its Tracks|
|News - Health|
|Written by Mediabharti Syndication Service|
|Sunday, 01 November 2009|
Washington (USA): Michael Gorham was riding his bicycle when he was hit by a massive heart attack. But just 35 minutes after Oak Park paramedics dropped Gorham off at Loyola University Hospital, Dr. John J. Lopez stopped Gorham's heart attack in its tracks.
Lopez performed an emergency balloon angioplasty to reopen a major coronary artery that was 100 percent blocked. The procedure immediately restored blood flow, and Gorham made a dramatic recovery. He went home two days later. Eight days after his heart attack, he was back on his bike.
During a heart attack, a blockage in an artery stops blood flow. Heart muscle begins to die due to lack of blood and oxygen. An emergency angioplasty can reopen a blocked artery and restore blood flow. The procedure does the most good if done within one hour of the patient's arrival, known as the Golden Hour. After three hours, there may not be enough benefits to justify the risks of the procedure.
"Time is heart muscle," said Dr. Fred Leya, medical director of Loyola's cardiac catheterization lab. "The sooner we can open the artery, the better."
Before his heart attack, Gorham had experienced no symptoms of heart disease. Gorham, 64, is industry professor and director of the Center for Financial Markets at the Stuart School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was working from his Oak Park home late in the afternoon when he took a break to do an errand. He hopped on his bike to buy a friend a birthday book in downtown Oak Park. He peddled hard, because he didn't have much time. "Suddenly, I felt like I was running out of juice," he said.
He was having a heart attack. In addition to feeling pressure on his chest, Gorham was clammy and nauseous. He got off his bike, lay down in the grass and called a nurse friend, who told him to call 911.
At the hospital, a staffer cut Gorham's shirt off with a scissors, and he was whisked down the hall to the cardiac catheterization lab. "It reminded me of an episode of ER," Gorham said. "These guys didn't waste a second."
Gorham's left anterior descending artery- the largest artery that supplies blood to the heart- was completely blocked. Lopez threaded a catheter (thin tube) from an artery in Gorham's groin up to his heart. When the catheter reached the blockage, Lopez inflated a balloon at the tip of the catheter to open the artery. He then placed a stent (wire mesh tube) to keep the artery open.
"Gorham had a very large heart attack that could have damaged a significant amount of heart muscle," Lopez said. "Fortunately, the amount of damage he wound up having was very limited."
Lopez added that the case illustrates the importance of calling 911 right away if you think you are having a heart attack.
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