Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
Treatment for Complications
Heart attacks that damage critical or large areas of the heart tend to cause more problems (complications) later. If only a small amount of heart muscle dies, the heart may still function normally after a heart attack.
The chance that these complications will occur depends on the amount of heart tissue affected by a heart attack and whether medicines are given during and after a heart attack to help prevent these complications. Your age, general health, and other things also affect your risk of complications and death.
About half of all people who have a heart attack will have a serious complication. The kinds of complications you may have depend upon the location and extent of the heart muscle damage. The most common complications are:
- Heart rhythm problems, called Reference arrhythmias Opens New Window. These include Reference heart block, Reference atrial fibrillation Opens New Window, and possibly deadly Reference ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.
- Reference Heart failure Opens New Window, which can be short-term or can become a lifelong condition. Scar tissue eventually replaces the areas of heart muscle that are damaged by a heart attack. Scar tissue affects your heart's ability to pump as well as it should. Damage to the Reference left ventricle Opens New Window can lead to heart failure.
- Reference Heart valve disease Opens New Window.
- Reference Pericarditis Opens New Window, which is an inflammation around the outside of the heart.
Treatment for heart rhythm problems
If the heart attack caused an arrhythmia, you may take medicines or you may need a cardiac device such as a pacemaker.
If you have abnormal heart rhythms or if you are at risk for abnormal heart rhythms that can be deadly, your doctor may recommend an Reference implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).
For information on different types of arrhythmias, see:
- Reference Atrial Fibrillation.
- Reference Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate).
- Reference Ventricular Tachycardia.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 1, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
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- Treatment for Complications
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