Heart Attack Emergency Care
A heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI), occurs when blood becomes blocked from flowing into the heart. The heart muscle cells don’t get the oxygen they need and this damages the heart and cells begin to die.
Although the damage can happen within minutes, it ’s lessened if the patient seeks emergency treatment immediately. At FrontLine ER each of our Emergency Department doctor is board-certified in emergency medicine; nurses and physicians are specially trained to treat cardiac emergencies.
Signs of Heart Attack
A heart attack is a severe emergency that requires quick action. Do you know the symptoms? They vary from person to another, and not all heart attacks begin with the sudden, overwhelming chest pain that most of us have heard.
The most common warning symptoms of a heart attack involve:
- Chest pain or discomfort (that feels like pressure, fullness, or a squeezing pain) on the left side of the chest or in other parts of the upper body like the arms, neck, back, and shoulders.
- Shortness of breath can occur with these symptoms or may be the only symptom. Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting are common signs as well.
- Mild or severe heartburn or indigestion
These symptoms may begin slowly, with mild pain and can happen while you’re active or at rest. Your gender, age, and medical conditions will determine how severe it can be.
What Should You Do?
Heart Attacks can happen to an individual at home, place of work or even in a public setting like in buses, trains or recreational parks. The first step is to call 911 immediately or our emergency care hotlines at FrontLine ER.
If you are the victim and are at home alone, it’s best to call a friend, relative or neighbor for assistance as you wait for the emergency response personnel to arrive. At this point, you should also ensure that your insurance card and medical history documents are readily available.
If you are knowledgeable about emergency first aid treatment, start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on the victim. CPR involves mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions (external heart massage through the chest). The earliest possible treatment within the first few hours of a heart attack can save a life and reduce damage caused.
Heart Attack Care in the Emergency Department at FrontLine ER
People who are having heart attacks sometimes arrive by ambulance in the Emergency Department. The emergency doctors first take the patient to an exam room for quick evaluation. If deemed appropriate, the interventional cardiology team gets assembled, and the victim led to the catheterization lab within a few minutes of diagnosis.
An electrocardiogram (EKG) is connected to the patient to allow for constant monitoring of the hearts activity by the medical staff. The victim may also have an IV (intravenous) line injected into a vein in his/her arm. The IV line helps the team to administer medicines or take blood samples.
If the patient came in with breathing problems, oxygen might be given through a tube in the nose; to ensure that both the heart and the body get sufficient oxygen. An angiogram can also be performed to help determine the location and extent of the damage. Depending on a patient’s requirements, angioplasty can be done as soon as possible to restore blood flow to the heart.
At the ER, patients can take medicines that lessen the damage caused by a heart attack.
- Anti-coagulants such as aspirin, heparin, and other antiplatelet drugs are administered to stop blood clot from forming or prevent existing clots from getting larger. If the lump grows further, it can block the heart from receiving enough oxygen and thus causing more damage.
- Thrombolytic therapy or clot buster therapy, are drugs that are given to dissolve clots that have already formed. They aim at reducing the amount of damage done to the heart muscles. If these drugs are delivered within one to two hours from the start of a heart attack, they can work effectively. That’s the reason for getting immediate emergency care after the onset of symptoms.
- Nitroglycerine is administered to help reduce chest pain and relax the coronary arteries and let more oxygen reach the heart muscle.
- Additional drugs can be given to help in widening the blood vessels and reduce the workload of the heart, therefore decreasing pain and anxiety.
The healthcare team is in a high position to decide which medicine will work best for your condition. The doctors will also continue to watch the patient’s heart rate and rhythm for about 24 hours until heart damage has stopped.
The highly-qualified team at FrontLine ER are specialists in the treatment of heart attacks. They ensure a seamless experience from the moment of arrival in the Emergency Department all the way through follow-up care. During the process of treatment, they provide further education about the recovery process to the patients. Visit us today and experience the best medical emergency services in the area.