Learning About Thrombolytic Treatment for Heart Attack

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What is thrombolytic treatment for heart attack?

Thrombolytics are medicines that dissolve blood clots fast. Blood clots are a common cause of heart attack.

A heart attack happens when one or more of the coronary arteries is blocked. They supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. A blockage usually occurs when plaque inside the artery breaks open and a blood clot forms.

By dissolving the clot fast, the medicine helps blood to flow normally again. This can limit damage to the heart muscle.

How is it done?

This treatment is done while you are in the hospital.

The medicine is given through a vein in your hand or arm. It travels through the bloodstream to the clot.

What are the risks of this treatment?

This medicine greatly increases the risk of bleeding throughout your body. Bleeding is serious when it happens anywhere inside your body. It is even more serious if it happens in or around your brain.

What can you expect after treatment?

You'll be closely watched for some time after the treatment to make sure there is no bleeding.

You'll also get other treatment to help you get better and to prevent another heart attack.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.