Asked by Joseph Chang, Owensboro, Kentucky
If you're having heart attack, which medicine should you take first : nitroglycerin or 325 mg aspirin?
Dr. Otis Brawley
Chief Medical Officer,
American Cancer Society
A heart attack is the permanent death of heart muscle. It is usually because of a blockage in one of the coronary arteries providing blood to the heart.
A less than total blockage can cause heart pain, or angina ,along with sweating and shortness of breath. This can be treated with nitroglycerin under the tongue or on the skin.
The drug causes a relaxation of muscle in the wall of the coronary artery. This causes the artery to dilate, so more blood can flow. It can avert a heart attack.
Blood tries to clot when it's not flowing. Aspirin prevents blood from clotting in a blocked or partially blocked artery.
We often recommend that patients take an aspirin while having a heart problem. Many people take a baby aspirin or an adult aspirin daily to prevent such. I always suggest you consult your physician, but I believe that nitroglycerin should be administered first.
Someone who is already on aspirin may not benefit from an additional aspirin during a crisis.
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed||Top Searches|
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.