Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

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Chew or Swallow Aspirin?

Wednesday, 10 Aug 2011 10:58 AM


Imagine this scenario: You wake up one morning and things just don’t feel right. You haven’t had breakfast, but a feeling of discomfort, like heartburn, is spreading through your chest.

After a hot shower, you don’t feel better — in fact, you feel worse. The tightness in your chest is spreading to your left shoulder. You tell your spouse, who takes one look at you and runs to the phone to call 911.

When you look up again, your spouse has brought you an aspirin and a glass of water. You know you should take it, but what is the best way? Swallow it or chew it up?

Most heart attacks happen when the plaque in a coronary artery ruptures. Then, platelets — the tiny blood cells that trigger clotting — come to the site to start repairing it. They actually help build a clot on the ruptured plaque.

As that clot keeps growing, it can eventually block the artery. Aspirin inhibits clotting. You need it (if you’re not allergic) to slow things down.

So the question remains: When you think you’re having a heart attack, should you chew the aspirin or swallow it? Researchers trying to determine the answer asked volunteers to take a standard dose of 325 mg aspirin to see how fast it was absorbed. They used three different methods:

• An aspirin tablet swallowed with 4 ounces of water

• An aspirin tablet chewed for 30 seconds and then swallowed

• A tablet of Alka-Seltzer dissolved in 4 ounces of water and swallowed

The results showed that:

• Chewed aspirin inhibited platelet formation by 50 percent within 5 minutes.

• Alka-Seltzer took 8 minutes to do the same thing.

• Swallowed aspirin had the same effect in 12 minutes.

Remember, every minute counts. The first thing to do is call 911. Second, have two chewable 325 mg aspirin tablets while you wait for the paramedics. Naturally, if you are allergic to aspirin, this is not a remedy you can consider. Still, don’t delay. Call 911 for an accurate diagnosis of a potential heart attack.


© HealthDay

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