Heart Attack Treatment Options Not everyone who has had a heart attack needs open-heart surgery, such as a bypass operation. Thriving After a Heart Attack Over the long term, your quality of life is tied to how severe your heart attack was and how it was treated. Beyond that, any change will depend largely on you. Preventing a Second Heart Attack Most Americans survive a first heart attack. By taking action, however, they can significantly reduce their chances for a second heart attack. AEDs: High-Tech Help for Heart Attacks Technology has given us the automated external defibrillator (AED), which is turning up far from hospitals. Some schools and public buildings already have AEDs. Medical Symptoms You Should Never Ignore Some symptoms may indicate the possibility of a serious condition and should be evaluated immediately by a health care provider. Automated External Defibrillator An AED is a small, portable, battery-powered machine with a computer in it. The machine detects heart activity. It can give an electric shock to someone if needed.