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How do you know how much damage is done after a heart attack

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Old 09-04-2006, 08:34 PM   #1
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bugwoodlily HB User
Question How do you know how much damage is done after a heart attack

How soon or when after a heart attack, can they tell how much heart damage was done? I had a heart attack in sep. 2005, and I have never been told how much damage was done to my heart. Heart doctor just said very little was done, right after my heart attack while still in hosipal. Also how do they tell, is there a speical test or something?

Last edited by bugwoodlily; 09-05-2006 at 10:58 AM.

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Old 09-05-2006, 06:05 AM   #2
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Re: How do you know how much damage is done after a heart attack

Good Lord, lily,

JUST THIS WEEKEND? Or did you get that year wrong?

I'm going to assume you meant 2005. To be honest, I don't know exactly how it is measured, my guess is that it isn't precisely.

What IS important is the remaining heart function becasue after a heart attack or series of heart attacks the heart efventually progresses towards heart failure which is the progressive weakening of the heart best reflected in the ejection fraction.

If a sizeable portion of the heart is killed, an echo will show an area that doesn't contribute to proper beating resulting in a "floppy" looking beat...but I don't think they can quantify too precisely from that how much heart has died.

That's maybe why it seems doctors are stuck with only two words: "minimal" and "massive." (I'm glad you got the "minimal" version.)

Have they measured your Ejection Fraction?

Last edited by Lenin; 09-05-2006 at 06:07 AM.

Old 09-05-2006, 11:37 AM   #3
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Re: How do you know how much damage is done after a heart attack

Sorry it was 2005. They did tell me minimal, my heart doctor tells me I'm doing OK, but for a few months after the heart attack I did have some EKG's that were abnormal. I also had a stress test that he said was basically good just a few small things showed up, he didn't tell me what and I didn't ask. I thought later I should have. This was done recently. I was just wondering about the damage done, this was all new to me when it happened and they didn't give me a percentage of damage.
I don't know what a ejection fraction is. I have angina just about every day if I get up and do anything or move around to fast. I get shortness of breath and some time tightness and pain.
When I had my heart attack I was 52 years old female. I had cramping pain across my shoulder's and in my neck, it feels like the bones in my neck were bracken. Just to let you know its not always in your chest.
Lenin thanks for information.

Old 09-05-2006, 02:44 PM   #4
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Re: How do you know how much damage is done after a heart attack


When one has a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI) heart muscle is damaged due to lack of oxygen. Often the cause is a blocked artery. The degree (size) and the location is a determinent of the prognosis. For instance, if muscle damage is slight at the distal (bottom) portion of the heart there will be very little impairment regarding the heart's ability to adequately and sufficiently pump blood/oxygen throughout the heart.

The measurement of damage: It is apparent with an echocardiogram. Heart wall motion or lack thereof is viewed on the equipment's screen while the heart is beating (I saw mine). The damage can be measured by calculating the left's ventricles size at maximum size before contraction and again at minimum size before filling. If there is heart muscle damage, muscle lacks flexibility and is somewhat rigid and that affects the measurements.

Also the stroke/volume can be measured and the % of blood pumped out of the left ventricle with each heartbeat is the efficiency fraction (EF). Normal is 55 to 75%. When there is a deficit of stroke/volume and below normal pain (angina) may exist when the heart does not receive enough blood. Also SOB.

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