What should be done in the golden hour after heart attack?

Doctors explain the importance of getting treatment in the ‘Golden hour’ (first hour) after suffering from severe heart attack. They also guide us as to what needs to be done, chat care should be taken, and why some general symptoms should not be neglected

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A 57-year-old south Mumbai resident Sundar Chaturvedi (name changed) started feeling breathlessness at 2 am early in the morning. Without wasting time, the family immediately called up the hospital and in night clothes, Chaturvedi was hospitalised in Jaslok Hospital. On diagnosing, it became clear that Chaturvedi had the suffered a severe heart attack. He was immediately put under appropriate treatment and his life was saved.

“Chaturvedi is put on a regular follow-up now and his heart is functioning at 60%. His recovery was possible because he received medical help in the ‘golden hour’,” said Dr Nihar Mehta, a Consultant Cardiologist at Jaslok Hospital and research center.

An hour from the onset of a heart attack is called as the ‘Golden hour’ as it is essential to treat a patient in this critical hour in order to save his life.

What is the golden hour?

  • An hour from the onset of the heart attack
  • Emergency treatment is most likely to be successful

What is the importance of golden hour after the heart attack?

  • A person suffers a heart attack when blood flow to the heart is blocked
  • Without blood supply, the heart cells start to die
  • Every minute is very important in order to save the heart and life
  • Essential to get treatment within an hour

“The very first hour after the heart attack is very important. There are maximum chances of recovery if a patient gets medical help within an hour,” added Dr Mehta.

According to the experts, the importance of golden hour only holds true if the patient reaches to a hospital in time. For this, it is important to identify the symptoms of a heart attack.

What are the general symptoms of heart attack?

  • Severe chest pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Heavy chest
  • Jaw pain
  • Choking sensation
  • Pain in upper stomach

“Many people ignore these symptoms and try to self-medicate. It should be avoided. Try to get to the hospital as soon as possible,” said Dr Ranjeet Jagtap, a Pune-based Heart surgeon.

What should be done in the Golden Hour?

  • Try to reach hospital as soon as possible
  • The preferable mode of transportation should be ambulance
  • Try to get in touch with a doctor on phone and follow the instructions
  • If a patient is collapsing on the way to hospital, a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could be of help
  • Excessive physical activity should be avoided
  • The patient should be carried on the stretcher and climbing stairs should be avoided

“Giving a 100 mg aspirin or sorbitrate tablet will also help the patient. But, it is always advisable to get in touch with a doctor and take advice,” said Dr Jagtap.