Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is a term that describes symptoms related to poor blood flow to the heart muscle that lead to a heart attack. This results in chest pain or
pectoris. ACS is a very serious, life-threatening condition. If you think you have ACS seek immediate medical treatment.
ACS is caused by a sudden blockage of the coronary arteries. These blood vessels carry blood to the heart muscle. The blood flow to the heart muscle is either greatly reduced or completely blocked. This leads to heart muscle damage or death from a heart attack.
The narrowing most often happens from years of plaque build-up in an artery. This is called
atherosclerosis. Blood clots may often cause of the narrowing arteries.
Closely monitor vital signs to detect and treat complications
To restore blood flow, the main treatments are:
are given to all patients suspected of having acute coronary syndrome.
Anti-ischemic drugs, such as
are used to help relieve chest pain.
Beta blockers are given to slow the heart rate so it does not use too much energy.
Thrombolytic drugs are used to dissolve blood clots. When given soon after a heart attack begins, these drugs can limit or prevent permanent damage to the heart. To be most effective, they need to be given within one hour after the start of heart attack symptoms. Some thrombolytic drugs are:
Platelet inhibitors keep the blockage from getting worse:
Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor antagonist
—a catheter is inserted into a blocked artery. A balloon is inflated and deflated. This will allow blood to flow again. A stent may be placed.
Coronary artery bypass surgery
—arteries or veins are taken from other areas in your body. They are used to bypass the blocked arteries in your heart.
Oxygen is given to all patients.
Treating ACS with
and revascularization (restoring blood flow to the heart) may reduce the rate of being hospitalized again. But, the surgery may not reduce the rate of death or heart attack.
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