Week #5: Cardiovascular Syste
Randi Marchant, a 42-year-old waitress, was vacuuming the family room when she felt a painful squeezing in her chest again. This was the third time today, but this one really hurt. She sat down to catch her breath and stubbed out the cigarette she had left smoldering in the half-filled ashtray by the couch. Randi’s husband, Jimmy, and stepdaughter Melanie had pestered her until she finally had taken time off work to see her doctor.
Dr. Harris found that her blood pressure was 158/88-probably owing to the noon rush stress at work, she rationalized. At least her cholesterol test was only 30 points above average this time. It had been slowly coming down, even though she cheated on her diet.
Another wave of pain tightened its icy fingers around her heart, and the pain moved up into both sides of her jaw. Randi thought, “Probably just a little heartburn. Since the pain doesn’t radiate down my left arm, it couldn’t be my heart, could it?”
“Don’t think about the pain,” she told herself. “Think of something else. Melanie’s prom dress needs altering.” Randi fell to the floor, clutching her chest, just as Melonie walked in. She saw her stepmother slumped on the floor and screamed, “Oh no! Help, somebody, help!”
Assuming that Randi is suffering a myocardial infarction, discuss why it is important that she receive appropriate treatment quickly. What signs and symptoms are consistent with an MI? What are her treatment options?
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