Coronary thrombosis is a medical term for the most common cardiac infarction variant. The cause of it is the blockage of one of the coronary arteries, caused by thrombus, that interrupts blood supply to one part of the heart muscle (myocardium) and damages it. Thrombosis generally occurs only in those people whose coronary arteries are already narrowed from coronary sclerosis. If the damaged area (called infarct) is a little, and if the cardiac electrical conductivity system is not disturbed, the attack will not be fatal and the prospects for recovery will be good.
The main symptom is strong pain in the middle of the chest, which can ”transfer” into the neck, jaw, and hands. Infarct may occur gradually – it is possible that you have had angina pectoris in the past few weeks, but can also occur without a prior warning. The pains can vary by the degree of strength – from the feeling of tightening in the chest to the strong and unbearable pain. Can be lasting or last for only a few minutes, disappear and then return. They can occur during some physical activity or emotional stress; however, unlike pain in angina pectoris, these pains do not disappear after cessation of physical activity or stress.
Other possible symptoms of coronary thrombosis are dizziness, loss of breath, sweating, chills, nausea and fainting. In some patients, mostly older people, those are the only symptoms. This condition, known as the atypical infarct, can only be diagnosed by hospital examinations that also exclude other possible causes of the symptoms.
In developed countries, death from heart disease (mostly from coronary thrombosis) is much higher than any other disease. At each cardiac infarct, ending with death, there are at least two that do not end in death; about half a million people in the UK get a heart attack in a year. In this century, mortality from coronary thrombosis generally increased in Western countries, but in the United States this growth stopped at the end of the 60s and is now slowing down in Europe, probably because people are paying much more attention to lifestyle.
Out of three people who had an infarct, two will recover, but it can be deadly if it interferes with electrical impulses that regulate heart beat or if the heart muscles are seriously damaged. Death usually occurs two hours after the onset of the symptoms. Approximately 10% of patients, who are received in a hospital after the heart attack, will suffer from a shock that can be deadly. The least catastrophic possibility is the development of cardiac decompensation.
Later complications of heart attack include the creation of a thrombus within one of four (heart) chambers. If the thrombus is separated – these smaller parts are called embolus – and it enters the bloodstream, it may damage the other part of the body. Fortunately, emboluses are rare and often too small to cause more damage.
From the damage of the heart muscle, the weakening and enlargement of one of the walls of the heart chambers may occur. Such enlargements – called aneurysms – can lead to complications, e.g. cardiac decompensation. In addition, there is an additional danger of thrombosis in the veins, especially in the legs, usually if a person needs to stay and rest in bed (due to some other medical condition or problem).
What to do?
Heart attack requires urgent intervention. Immediately call for medical help if you or someone in your family shows symptoms. Although the disturbances may be small, do not even try to go to the doctor all by yourself; call a doctor and if he can not come immediately, call the emergency vehicle. While waiting for help, make sure that the patient is warm and that he is relaxed as much as possible. Do not leave him alone; your presence will calm and encourage the patient, and therefore is invaluable. If a person affected by an infarct passes out, do not panic. This may be just a momentary heartbeat disturbance. Therefore, take out his denture (if the patient wears it) and try the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the help arrives or until the patient starts breathing normally.
For most people, it would be best to stay in a hospital after a heart attack. The decision on what will be best depends on the physician’s assessment of the strength of the seizure, the duration of the symptoms, and the possibilities of hospital and home therapy.
If you had a heart attack, you will be placed in a hospital at the cardiology department or at the intensive care unit. There you will have to undergo many diagnostic examinations, including an electrocardiogram (ECG). You may need several ECG shots; the ECG on the monitor is continually monitored at the Heart Surgery Department. Blood samples are also taken at certain intervals to estimate the damage to the heart muscle. Your doctor will also perform other tests to determine if changes in your life style or medication can help prevent another such infarct.
Your doctor will probably try to alleviate the pain of an analgesic, such as morphine. Since morphine often causes vomiting, your doctor will also give you an antiemetic (an agent against nausea). To reduce the risk of blood clots in the veins, you will take regular doses of anticoagulant orally. If you have experienced a minor infarct without any complications, your doctor may allow you to get up from the bed 48 hours the infarct because moderate movement encourages blood flow and reduces the risk of thrombosis.
If you are reading this site after you have survived coronary thrombosis, the odds are good. Mortality varies according to age and type of infarct, but death from coronary thrombosis occurs mostly several minutes or hours after seizures. Therefore, it is important to immediately assist the patient. If there are no signs of cardiac decompensation or heart rhythm disturbance six hours after the pain disappears, you have 90% chances that you will recover completely from the infarct. If you have been alive one month after the infarct, even though it was strong, you have 85% of the chance to survive for at least another year and 70% seems to survive for another five years.
It is natural that after the coronary thrombosis you will be worried about the heart. However, both stress and anxiety can have negative consequences on your health so, if it is possible, try not to think and worry about it too much.