Responding to a heart attack

Responding to a heart attack


An MI is a myocardial infarction which
is also known as a heart attack which is how most people know it. The heart’s like
an engine, and it’s got three fuel lines, and what a heart attack is is when
suddenly one of those fuel lines shuts down. So what the artery gets blocked
with is cholesterol plaque. When you lack blood supply to your heart muscle, which
is what a heart attack is, there’s a clock that’s started, and after about six hours, a
great majority of permanent heart muscle damage has been done, and
after 12 hours it’s probably completed– –so the quicker we open up that artery,
the less permanent heart muscle damage is done. When the artery shuts down
suddenly, there’s a time where the heart doesn’t have any blood supply, and it’s
in jeopardy of going into a fatal arrhythmia. Paramedics are trained to
treat that arrhythmia. So if you call 9-1-1 and have that
arrhythmia while the paramedics are there, they can save your life, but if you
try to drive yourself in and have that arrhythmia, you would die. So it’s
essential that you call 911. When they arrive at your house, they’ll do an EKG. If that
EKG is suspicious that you are having a heart attack,
they will notify the emergency room. The emergency room will then activate a
pathway so we will be prepared for you when you come to the emergency room. When
we see the patient in the emergency room, the first thing we need to determine is,
obviously, are you having a heart attack? That’s usually evident based on the
symptoms and the EKG. Once we’ve determined you’re having a heart attack,
we’re focused on getting that artery open as fast as we can. A pathway will be
initiated where we’ll move quickly to go from the emergency room to the heart
catheterization laboratory where we can open up the artery immediately. The
quicker your artery is opened up, the less heart muscle damage is done. What’s
good about the Parkview system is that there’s a cardiologist available 24
hours a day, every day of the week, in the hospital, waiting for somebody to come in
with a heart attack. There’s a huge team- approach that’s required to coordinate
the care–from when somebody’s having a heart attack in the field to getting
their artery opened up. The more time you wait with an artery that’s shut down,
the more likely you are to either die or have permanent disability. So it’s very
important if you think you’re having a heart attack not to stay at home but to
summon emergency care.