Health Topics

Healthy Living

September 2011
Beat by Beat—Recovering from a Heart Attack
“I always was living under the fear that one day, I might have a heart attack. The fear had its roots in the fact that my father, my elder brother and even my paternal uncle, all had cardiac ailments and suffered heart attacks at some point of time in their life”, said Chadha exclaiming with surprise and a hint of fear adding...

“And then it really did happen to me! I felt this heaviness and pain in my chest. I shared it with my wife, who since that moment did not leave me for even once. The pain till then was bearable and I reported to another hospital in the city who further referred me to Apollo Hospitals here in Hyderabad”.

Sitting in a recliner, Hyderabad-based businessman Ramesh Chander Chadha is just looking at the calendar. The month interestingly is July 2011. The date on which his glare is fixed is July 16. His daughter, who is studying in the USA, comes and fondly sits along with her father, in an attempt to bring him out of the chain of thoughts related to his cardiac attack. Chadha thanks God and timely medical aid he got, which saved his life.

Chadha who has a small family is an extremely thankful man today for a fresh lease of life. His family looks forward to more years of togetherness, and believes that it was divine intervention that saved his life. Chadha was brought to the Apollo Hospital after he experienced a heavy feeling in his chest and a lack of breath during mid-July this year. An angiogram disclosed nearly five blockages in his heart. With a family history of heart disease, this development should not have been surprising. But it managed to catch Chadha and his family off-guard all the same. What followed were medical examinations and a surgery on August 1, 2011. Chadha is doing well now.  The doctor has assured him of a perfectly healthy life henceforth. His daughter flew down from the US when she heard of her father’s condition.

This is just one of the success stories that have come about because of the timely surgical intervention in a potentially life-threatening heart condition. Talking about Chadha’s case, Apollo Hospitals hyderabad senior cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr Vijay Dixit explains Chadha’s initial discomfort as the beginnings of a heart attack.

Severe coronary heart disease is preventable and treatable, and blocks can be removed by angioplasty or surgical intervention. A Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery on people such as Chadha does not hamper the scope of them leading a normal life in any way. If anything, such a surgery makes such people more fit.

Dr Vijay Dixit says you can identify a heart attack early on if you notice the following:
  • Sudden, at times severe, chest pain
  • Sweating and breathlessness
  • Discomfort in and around the chest region
  • Pain in the neck, back, stomach or arm at times
Dr Dixit, while evaluating Chadha’s condition during one of his post operative visits to the hospitals, said that if you notice any of these symptoms in a person or in yourself, you must go to the nearest hospital immediately after having an aspirin tablet post haste. Talking about the time period between experiencing such pain and reaching the hospital, he said that a patient can be saved if he reaches the hospital within four to six hours of getting the first pain attack.
Some more pointers that you must remember in such cases are:
  • You must not drive yourself to the hospital
  • You must be accompanied by somebody
  • You must immediately go in for an angiogram
The four to six hour window, Dixit says, is important because after that, it becomes impossible for a medical practitioner to stop or reverse the damage the heart muscles have undergone. An increasing number of young people, women in particular, are succumbing to heart attacks these days.
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