Patients suffering from a heart attack could limit damage to their heart, if they recognized symptoms earlier and if they sought immediate treatment.
An ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is a life-threating condition in which one or more coronary arteries is occluded by a thromboembolism or another pathological mechanism. The door-to-balloon time is the interval of time that goes from the patient’s arrival in the emergency room until the successful reperfusion of the ischemic heart muscle thanks to a percutaneous coronary intervention. According to the guidelines of the American College of Cardiology, a percutaneous coronary intervention should be performed within 90 minutes of the patient’s arrival.
Researchers looked for an association between the door-to-balloon time and the impact on myocardial function. A total of 2056 patient were included in this study, published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology, JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions. Subjects were divided in three groups, based on their door-to-balloon time: less than two hours, between two and four hours, more than four hours. Patients who received balloon angioplasty after 2-4 hours were less likely to regain their heart function compared to patients who received treatment more quickly.
These results suggested that the time from the heart attack until treatment is even more important for the myocardial function. Education about the symptoms of a heart attack could create more awareness among people, in order to reduce unnecessary delay of treatment.
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