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Heart attack patients on the rise, including youth

9 months ago

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BY Buddhika Samaraweera Hospitals are currently observing a clear increase in the number of patients, including youngsters, being admitted with chest pains, out of which a significant number of cases are then diagnosed to be heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), The Morning learnt. Medical officers from several government hospitals said that there is a considerable increase in the number of patients who are being admitted to hospitals with chest pain. They also said that out of such admissions, a significant number of patients, both elderly and younger crowds, are then diagnosed as having suffered heart attacks. Explaining the reasons that may have led to the increase in heart attack cases, a medical officer said: “There can be many reasons that may have led to this situation. Especially, physical and mental stress is an independent risk factor for myocardial infarctions which are on the rise amidst the great difficulties faced by the public at present, in particular the economic hardships.” Noting that the cost of all the medications have increased by at least 40-60% in the recent past, another medical officer from a leading government hospital said that many people find it extremely difficult to cope with the inflation. As a result, he said that hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes (affects how the body uses blood sugar/glucose), which are among the top risk factors for heart attacks, are very poorly controlled, as many patients cannot afford their routine medications. “In addition, the optimum care for those presenting to hospitals with heart attacks is severely compromised due to the unavailability of most essential life-saving medications such as Tenecteplase which is the drug that lyses the blood clot in a patient with a heart attack. Life-saving interventions such as percutaneous coronary interventions are also compromised due to the lack of essential medical supplies, thus putting lives at stake,” he further said. Following recent reports of a shortage of two pharmaceutical drugs named Streptokinase and Tenecteplase – both of which are used as life-saving drugs in heart attacks – a medical expert recently pointed out that it is vitally important to maintain adequate stocks of these drugs, as hospitals are frequently receiving patients with heart attacks. In late March, sources within a leading government hospital said: “Both of these drugs are given to people with acute conditions of heart attacks such as ‘ST-elevation myocardial infarction’. Out of these two, Tenecteplase is much more effective than Streptokinase in treating such. Therefore, it is very important that these drugs be available in adequate quantities in hospitals.” The sources further claimed that even in a remote hospital, around five patients are being admitted with heart attacks per day, which is even higher than in urban hospitals such as the National Hospital of Colombo. The sources also claimed that there are no other alternative medicines for the above drugs. Meanwhile, the College of Medical Laboratory Science, on Tuesday (17), warned that hospitals may not be able to operate intensive care units and high dependency units in the future due to the prevailing lack of reagents needed for essential blood gas analysers.  

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