Information about the likelihood of further heart attacks can be obtained in many different ways. The number of narrowings in the heart arteries (other than the one that caused the heart attack) gives a very good idea of the future threat. This is most accurately assessed with a coronary angiogram.
Scar tissue in the heart can be seen using ultrasound. The function of the heart and the ability of the heart arteries to deliver sufficient blood and oxygen to the muscle can be assessed with an exercise stress ECG. As a result of this test and exercise tests on a treadmill or bicycle, a coronary angiogram may be advised.
Patients who have had a heart attack are more likely to have another heart attack than people with a normal heart. Many patients enjoy a long and untroubled life after a heart attack. Some need further tests and replumbing of their heart using either angioplasty or bypass surgery. All patients should be on medication, but not everyone takes the same tablets.
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