Understanding how is cardiac ischemia treated is important for those diagnosed with this condition or those at increased risk of developing it. Caused by a blockage of the coronary artery, cardiac ischemia decreases blood flow to the heart. This can result in an arrhythmia, fainting, and even death.
Before cardiac ischemia can be treated, it must be diagnosed by a physician. Typical signs of cardiac ischemia include pain in the chest, neck, jaw or arm, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. The skin may also be clammy to the touch. Alternatively, people may show no signs of cardiac ischemia; this is especially common in those suffering with diabetes and is known as silent ischemia.
For a doctor to diagnose cardiac ischemia, he will perform a thorough examination including a physical and obtaining a complete history from the patient. Tests commonly conducted include a stress test, an electrocardiogram, and X-rays of the coronary arteries, known as a coronary angiogram. Based on the results of the examination and tests, the physician can accurately diagnose a case of cardiac ischemia.
The goal of cardiac ischemia treatment is to improve the blood flow to the heart. Cardiac ischemia treated with medication often involves the use of aspirin and beta blockers. Nitrates are sometimes used as well. Angioplasty or stents are other ways in which cardiac ischemia is treated. As a last resort or in serious cases, bypass surgery may be used to treat cardiac ischemia.
After cardiac ischemia is treated using any or a combination of such methods, further prevention should be explored. Once stabilized, patients often see significant improvement when a regular program of physical activity is followed. This is due to the effect of exercise to increase blood flow to the heart.