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Heart attack

Heart attack
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Heart attack diagnosis

Heart attack warning signs vary.

With a heart attack, every minute counts. Know the warning signs of a heart attack and what to do if you or someone around you experience the warning signs.

If you have chest pain or other warning signs of a heart attack that are severe, get worse quickly, or last 10 minutes, call triple zero (000) immediately and get help fast.

If calling triple zero (000) does not work on your mobile phone, try 112.

If you are rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack, your healthcare team will do a number of tests to find out if you are having a heart attack. These tests will help them to decide the best treatment for you:

  • electrocardiogram (ECG) - during an ECG test, electrical leads are placed on your chest, arms and legs. These leads detect small electrical signals and produce a tracing on graph paper that illustrates the electrical impulses travelling through your heart muscle.
  • blood tests
  • chest X-ray
  • angiogram - this is a special X-ray that shows whether or not your coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked. Under a local anaesthetic, a small tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery in your arm or groin and guided into the heart. Dye is injected through the catheter into the coronary arteries and X-rays or CT scan are taken. These give detailed information about the condition of these arteries.

After a heart attack diagnosis

The time it takes to recover from a heart attack will depend on the amount of damage to the heart muscle. Some people are well enough to return to work after 2 weeks. Others may take several months to recover. The recovery process aims to:

  • reduce your risk of another heart attack by introducing a combination of lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, and medications such as statins which help lower blood cholesterol levels
  • gradually restore your physical fitness so you can resume normal activities. This is known as ‘cardiac rehabilitation’.

Most people can return to work after having a heart attack, but how quickly this happens depends on your health, the state of your heart and the kind of work you do.

Read more about life after a heart attack, plus the Heart Foundation can provide more information on heart health at www.heartfoundation.org.au, or call their information line on 1300 36 27 87.

Last reviewed: September 2016

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Heart attack - Better Health Channel

Heart attack is an emergency. If you have warning signs of heart attack, get help fast. Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

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Heart attack

A heart attack happens when there is a sudden complete blockage of an artery that supplies blood to an area of your heart. As a result, some of your heart muscle begins to die. Without early medical treatment, this damage can be permanent.

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Symptoms of heart attack & stroke in women | Jean Hailes

Knowing the symptoms of heart attack and stroke may not only save your life it may also save the life of another. Symptoms of heart attack in women can be different to men and include pain and pressure in the chest, neck, arm, jaw, shortness of breath, di

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CK-MB - Lab Tests Online AU

To determine if you have had a heart attack. However, this test is rarely used now; instead doctors usually request troponin.

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Creatine kinase - Lab Tests Online AU

To determine if muscles in your body have been damaged. Previously used to determine if you are havinga heart attack.

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Angina

What is Angina? Learn the difference between angina and heart attack, types of angina and what to do if you have angina.

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To determine if you are folate-deficient or vitamin B12-deficient; to help diagnose a rare inherited disorder called homocystinuria; to determine if you are at increased risk of a heart attack or stroke

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Family & Friends - BluePages

Family and friends can be an important source of help if you are depressed. Recovery is quicker for people who feel supported by those around them.

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Myoglobin - Lab Tests Online AU

To determine whether muscle, particularly heart muscle, has been injured.However, this test is rarely used now; instead doctors usually request troponin if a heart attack is suspected.

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Troponin - Lab Tests Online AU

This test measures the level of troponin in your blood. Troponin is a protein found in muscle that helps it contract. There are two forms that can be measured troponin I (TnI) and troponin T (TnT) found in the heart and in other muscles. The tests for these forms of troponin measure only the type found in heart muscle. When a person has a heart attack, troponin is released into the blood. Troponin levels remain high longer than other substances (CKMB) that may be measured if a heart attack is suspected and the troponin test is not available. This becomes important if a person waits for more than a day before going to the doctor after having had chest pain.

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