Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

We are now going to talk about the heart attack and one of its treatment regimes, which is the use of aspirin. As we age, we are all at risk of developing artery disease, and in particular, coronary artery disease as a result of our lifestyle choices. Smoking, high-fat diets, low exercise regimes, diabetes, are all factors that may lead to an increase of atherosclerotic plaques in our arteries. This also increases our risk of stroke as the pathophysiology is just the same. All these factors are made worse by smoking and stress. The atherosclerotic plaques develop inside the arteries until they reach such a point where the arteries narrow and the blood flowing through the arteries becomes less and less and less. At some point, the atherosclerotic plaques may rupture. The contents of the plaque are highly thrombogenic and it immediately causes platelets to stick to the plaques and for blood clots to form inside the arteries.

Now, if this happens inside the coronary artery, it will cause blood to stop flowing to the cardiac muscle beyond the point of the obstruction. This can often lead to a cardiac arrest if the occlusion is in a major artery. As part of our management regime for a myocardial infarct, we must obtain an ECG, establish whether there is ST elevation or T wave inversion, or sometimes the ECG may look completely normal, certainly in the earlier stages of a heart attack. We must also, unless it's contra-indicated, administer aspirin, 300 milligrams. The best way to give aspirin to a patient having an MI is to ask the patient to chew the aspirin and to rinse it around their mouth with a little bit of water so that it gets absorbed through the buccal mucosa. This way, it's faster acting and it helps to stop the platelet plug forming around the ruptured plaque. It's safe to give the patients 300 milligrams of aspirin if they are already taking 75 milligrams as a daily dose anyway.