Friday, October 24, 2008

MI and Aspirin

Kate, one of my students at Central Wyoming College (, asked in class about the dose of aspirin to give someone who might be experiencing a myocardial infarction (MI). Aspirin, a great drug that's been available over-the-counter since 1897, is certainly recommended when you're thinking, hey, this could be a heart attack. The "blood-thinning" properties of the drug tend to improve the outcome for the patient. Yes, the dose has changed over the years, and remains somewhat controversial, but most experts currently recommend 3-4 baby aspirin (each containing 81 mg) or one adult aspirin (with 325 mg). The aspirin gets to work a bit quicker if the tablets can be chewed before being swallowed with a swig of water. Then keep the patient physically and emotionally at rest until help can be found for an evacuation. If evacuation is delayed into additional days, each day should include more aspirin, once a day, at the same dose.

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