The initial treatment of a heart attack at the time of these interviews (2004 and 2011) included pain relief, thrombolysis (clot busting) and other blood thinning drugs (e.g. aspirin), given by ambulance staff or at the hospital. Many of these treatments are still given in the same way.
On the way to the hospital, ambulance staff may give people oxygen if they have a low level of oxygen in their blood. To relieve pain they may give morphine intravenously (through a vein) and glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) as a tablet under the tongue or as a spray and an aspirin to chew to thin the blood.
Mervyn describes the treatments he received in the ambulance on his way to the hospital.
She describes the series of tests she had done in the ambulance and in hospital.
People we talked to found it reassuring being in the ambulance and receiving treatment even before they arrived in hospital enabling healthcare staff to plan treatment before the person arrived at the hospital.
The ambulance crew did an ECG which was sent electronically to the hospital. On arrival, the…
Once it was established that John was having a heart attack, it was agreed that he should be…
The cardiologist at the hospital told James that he needed primary angioplasty without delay to…
James explains primary angioplasty and the care he received after the operation.
He felt much better after the initial treatments he was given in hospital.
Staff were unsure when his heart attack occurred so he had warfarin to thin the blood instead of…
Thrombolytic (clot buster) drugs help to dissolve the clot that is blocking the artery and are usually given immediately upon arrival in hospital. But in some parts of the country, people get them before they reach hospital, to speed up treatment. Ideally the injection should be given as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms of the heart attack. If the injection is delayed beyond six hours, the benefit is less and beyond 12 hours there is little or no benefit.
Explains what he was told and why he agreed to have the thrombolysis (clotbuster drug).
Explains why she chose not to have the thrombolysis (clotbuster drug).
After initial diagnosis and treatment, people were cared for in the hospital’s coronary care unit (CCU), where further tests and decisions about treatment were made (see ‘The coronary care unit‘). Sometimes, people are transferred to another hospital for specialist treatment and care.