How Taking Aspirin Within 4 Hours Can Save Lives During a Heart Attack

How Taking Aspirin Within 4 Hours Can Save Lives During a Heart Attack

Written by Watchdoq Newsportal. May 27, 2024

New Delhi: A recent study underscores the critical window of opportunity when it comes to aspirin and heart attacks. Aspirin's potential to prevent heart attack deaths is maximized if taken within four hours of severe chest pain onset, according to research published in the Journal of American Heart Association.

The study, focusing on "self-administration of aspirin after chest pain for the prevention of premature cardiovascular mortality in the United States," estimated that early self-administration of 325mg aspirin could have delayed nearly 14,000 acute myocardial infarction deaths in the US in 2019 alone.

Doctors stress caution when it comes to taking aspirin, but they also emphasize its potential life-saving benefits. If a patient experiences crushing chest pain accompanied by symptoms like sweating and dizziness, promptly taking 325mg aspirin (three tablets) can be crucial. Additionally, placing 5mg sorbitrate under the tongue or using nitroglycerin can help alleviate chest pain by dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow to the heart.

"We recommend aspirin for symptoms such as intense chest pain or discomfort that radiates to the arms, neck, or jaw, along with symptoms like shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, or dizziness, which could indicate a possible heart attack," said Dr. Niranjan Hiremath, senior consultant and surgical lead of Apollo Aortic Programme at Apollo Hospital.

Aspirin acts as an anti-platelet agent, thinning the blood and reducing clot formation. Dr. Samir Kubba, director and senior consultant of cardiology at Dharamshila Narayana Hospital, explains, "Aspirin inhibits cyclo-oxygenase, decreasing the production of thromboxane A2, a molecule that promotes platelet aggregation and vasoconstriction. This mechanism prevents blood clot formation that can lead to heart attacks."

However, aspirin isn't suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain medical conditions such as stomach ulcers, kidney disease, liver disease, asthma, bleeding disorders, or those allergic to aspirin should avoid it. Consulting a doctor before taking aspirin, especially for children and teenagers, is essential.

Dr. Balbir Singh, group chairman of cardiac sciences at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, acknowledges the bleeding risks associated with aspirin but reassures that the benefits generally outweigh them. While long-term aspirin use without a history of heart disease or stroke may increase bleeding risks, its prompt administration during a heart attack can be life-saving.

Dr. Ashwani Mehta, senior consultant at the cardiology department of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, cautions against taking aspirin without a doctor's advice on a long-term basis, especially for those without a history of heart disease or stroke. In such cases, the risk of bleeding may outweigh the benefits of preventing heart attacks.

In conclusion, the study highlights the crucial role aspirin plays in preventing heart attack deaths if taken within the critical window of four hours after severe chest pain onset. While aspirin can be a wonder pill in emergencies, caution and medical advice are paramount for its safe and effective use. Source: TOI