|MadSci Network: Medicine|
While a heart attack itself may last a few minutes, only some patients die in this acute stage. Many die within the ensuing few days due to extension of the infarction which the attack causes, or of later complications such as arrhythmias. It is this phase which is mitigated by the properties of aspirin which reduces the accretion of platelets to the damaged blood vessel lining and so reduces the size of the eventual infarct As to taking one during an attack, it is all a question of degree- some heart attacks are less incapacitating than others. This a patient who is fortunate enough to have aspirin within easy access during a mild attack will improve his/her chances of limiting the damage Naturally a major heart attack leading to rapid cardiac arrest will not respond to such simple measures!
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