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What happens after initial treatment of a heart attack in the hospital?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
After the immediate treatment for heart attack, doctors monitor your heart for rhythm abnormalities and other heart problems. In the coronary care unit, nurses are highly trained to recognize electrical disorders and to administer heart drugs. An array of devices and machines -- defibrillators, ventilators, pacemaker equipment, and other tools for monitoring and maintaining heart function -- stand at the ready.

Most people don't have major problems after a heart attack and can leave the coronary care unit for a step-down unit, or intermediate care, within a day or two. Intermediate care units have much of the same monitoring equipment as coronary care units do; the difference is in the ratio of nurses to patients. In intermediate care, each nurse cares for three to five patients, compared with only two in coronary care.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.