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Heart and Vascular


Issue 1-2: Heart Attack

Front page...

Find a Free Health Screening
Take the "Are You Ready" Quiz
Helping Others During a Heart Attack
Life After a Heart Attack
Cardiac and Stroke Support Groups
Take the Heart Quiz
Know Your Numbers
Understanding High Blood Pressure
Heart Healthy Eating
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
How Can A Cardiologist Help My Heart?
Chew On This
What to Expect at the ER
Cardiac Rehabilitation

Chew On This

Chew On This

Here’s something to chew on: Chewing or crushing and then swallowing an aspirin during a suspected heart attack increases your chances of survival and decreases damage to your heart.

How does this work? Well a heart attack is triggered by the rupture of a plaque within a coronary artery. The rupture of the artery causes a clot to form, leading to blockage of the artery. The portion of the heart muscle being supplied with oxygen by the blocked artery begins to die. The death of this heart muscle is called a myocardial infarction (MI). This blood clot depends on blood platelets-tiny blood cells whose jobs are to contribute to blood clotting- to form.

Aspirin relieves minor aches and pains. But it also inhibits the production of thromboxane, which binds platelet molecules together to create a blood clot. Inhibiting the growth of a blood clot is critical during a heart attack. It helps to prevent heart muscle cells from dying, increasing your chances for survival during a heart attack.

Remember: Minutes count. If you think you are having a heart attack, call the paramedics. Then, chew or crush a non-coated, 325 mg adult aspirin and swallow it immediately.

Why chew or crush? When you swallow a pill whole, it takes 10 to 12 minutes to get into your system. By chewing or crushing the aspirin, it gets into your blood stream in 4 to 5 minutes. The difference may seem small, but remember: Minutes count.