Very slow heart beat or heart
block (where electrical impulses from the upper
chambers of the heart does not make it down to
the lower ones). This is usually treated by using
a temporary pacemaker.
Ventricular arrhythmias originating
from the lower chambers of the heart. This usually
responds to medications but may require an electrical
shock to regulate. In some patients with serious
and persistent irregular heart beats, an AICD
(a specialized device that detects and corrects
serious irregular heart beats and looks like a
large pacemaker) may be needed to reduce the risk
of sudden death).
Heart failure, where the pumping
capability of the heart is significantly reduced
by a large heart attack. This is more likely to
occur in patients who have had one or more prior
attacks. Heart failure (also known as congestive
heart failure or CHF) is treated with oxygen and
diuretics (a medication that increases the flow
of urine and helps the patient get rid of excess
fluids). Medications are also used to help reduce
the workload of the heart and improve the strength
of muscle contraction.
Shock may occur when a very large amount of heart
muscle is damaged by a heart attack. It is a more
severe form of heart failure. Depending upon the
situation, this may be treated with intravenous
medicines, insertion of an intra-aortic balloon
pump It consists of a special balloon catheter
that is inserted via the groin artery. The inflation
and deflation of the balloon pump is timed by
the patient's heart beat and helps support the
circulation and gives the patient's heart to recover.
The treatment of cardiogenic or heart shock may
require that the pressure within the heart be
monitored with the use of a special (Swan-Ganz)
catheter. This is usually inserted through a little
needle hole in the groin, or under the collar
catheter and temporary pacemakers may be inserted
in a special procedure room that is equipped with
x-ray equipment and is shown below. A Swan-Ganz catheter
can also be inserted in the CCU room without the use
Recurrent closure of a coronary
artery after it has been opened up with "clot
buster" medication or emergency angioplasty.
Such patients are usually taken to a cardiac cath
lab on an emergency basis and the artery reopened.
In some cases, emergency coronary bypass surgery may
be needed. The video above shows a surgeon suturing
a bypass graft to a coronary artery.
Other complications can include
pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart,
heart rupture and a tear within the lower partition
of the heart or of the muscle attached to a valve.
The latter two complications usually require heart
surgery for correction.