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What Is a Widowmaker Heart Attack?

How does someone get a widowmaker heart attack?

Widowmaker Heart AttackIt is difficult to differentiate between a regular heart attack and the widowmaker heart attack because the symptoms are similar.

Any heart attack can be grave. A widowmaker is a type of heart attack, which is deadlier than most others.

A widowmaker heart attack occurs when the left ascending artery (LAD) that supplies blood to the front part of the heart (largest part) is clogged-up because of clots in the arterial wall. As a result, there is no blood flow to a major portion of the heart, which results in deprivation of oxygen. This causes the death of heart muscle in this area, medically termed myocardial infarction. Because a significant portion of the heart is affected, this can seriously affect the heart function and can be fatal.

Factors increasing the risk of widowmaker heart attack are:

Lifestyle modifications for high-risk patients can help to prevent heart attacks.

How do you know if you have a widowmaker heart attack or a regular heart attack?

It is difficult to differentiate between a regular heart attack and the widowmaker heart attack because the symptoms are similar. However, the most common symptoms are:

How is a widowmaker heart attack treated?

Because the widowmaker damages a major portion of the heart, timely management is necessary to prevent fatalities. Restoring the blood flow within 90 minutes of the start of the heart attack is crucial to prevent any permanent damage. In the emergency room, patients might receive aspirin and nitroglycerine to prevent blood clotting and improve blood flow.

The physician might consider either a bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft) or an angioplasty to treat a widowmaker.

In the bypass surgery, a healthy blood vessel (artery graft) is taken from the leg, arm or chest and placed in the heart as a bypass around the blocked artery. During an angioplasty a catheter is passed through a small cut made on the leg. A tiny balloon attached to the catheter is blown up and pushed through the blockage. Sometimes this is followed by placement of a permanent tube (stent) to keep the blocked area open.

Complications of these surgeries include:

Patients may be hospitalized for another five to seven days after the surgery. It requires three months to fully recover from the surgery.

What are the chances of surviving a widowmaker heart attack?

Removing the blockage prevents the complications of a widowmaker heart attack. The goal is to restore blood flow to the heart muscle immediately. The chances of survival have improved with advanced technologies.


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