Urgent Care vs Emergency Care – Going for Heart Attacks
A heart attack automatically qualifies to be called a medical emergency that should be quickly handled by the emergency department. The average person waits for about 3 hours before realizing that they are suffering from a heart attack. Many heart attack patients die even before they get to the emergency rooms. Yes, that is how fatal a heart attack could get. The sooner a patient gets to the emergency room, the better the chances of survival. Immediate treatment reduces the amount of damage to the heart giving it more longevity to serve the patient longer.
A heart attack basically occurs when the blood carrying oxygen to the heart gets blocked. The heart muscle then gets starved of oxygen and begins to die. Signs of a heart attack vary from person to person, from mild to severe but patients with diabetes are more likely to have unusual or unsure signs. The signs include; changes in mental status as confusion may kick in, acute chest pains often occurring at the center of the chest, dizziness, nausea, cold sweat, numbness, tingling arms, fatigue and shortness of breath.
A heart attack is fatal and requires first aid attention before getting to the emergency room. If you think someone has a heart attack, let the person try to rest and relax while seated. Loosen any tight clothing that could prevent any blood circulation. If the patient takes prescribed chest pain medicine, such as nitroglycerin, help them take it as it could help ease the pain. The pain should go away within 3 minutes of rest and pain medication. If the pain persists, call the emergency medical help via the helpline 911. If the patient falls unconscious, call 911 for emergency care then begin to perform CPR.
Once the heart attack patient arrives at the emergency department, he or she is rushed to the exam room. For physical assessment, the emergency doctors will check the level of heart attack or any damages and heart rates. The patient will be connected to a heart monitor to feed the emergency room doctors with accurate information on the heart’s activity. The procedure is painless. Oxygen is then passed via a tube through the nose that ascertains that both the heart and body get enough oxygen. To test for the blood samples, an IV is inserted into a vein in the patient’s arm.
The patient will not be allowed to eat or drink until an accurate diagnosis is made by the emergency doctor. This helps in giving the heart time to rest for proper recuperation. The diagnostic tests are used to learn what could be the most probable cause of the heart attack and how bad was it. A 12 lead electrocardiogram is conducted to study the electrical activity in the heart. It also helps in identifying which specific areas of heart could be damaged.
Also, blood tests are carried out to check for enzymes that are usually produced when heart damage occurs. The tests are normally carried out every two hours for a couple of days indicating that the heart damage has stopped when the enzyme levels are low.
In special cases, the trauma doctor may advise on a cardiac catheterization procedure. It allows the doctor to view pictures of the heart and blood vessels. The images display the amount of blockage in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscles. A thin straw-like tube is then placed in the coronary arteries restoring blood flow to the heart. An extra test known as an echocardiogram may be done to determine how well the heart muscle is pumping and damaged.
All these sophisticated tests make it difficult for urgent care centers to handle. The heart is delicate, and hence the doctors handling the organ are highly skilled. That level of skill is usually unavailable in urgent care centers. Thus, patients should choose an emergency department over an urgent care clinic for heart attacks. Moreover, the heart attack patient should take prescription emergency medicine to help reduce the stress on the heart caused by the attack. Emergency medicine is only prescribed in emergency rooms which makes an urgent care clinic not a viable option for heart attack patients.
These emergency medicines help stop the blood from clotting in the heart and blood vessels. They also keep pre-existing clots from becoming huger. If blood clots become huge and clog the blood vessels hence preventing the supply of oxygen to the heart, eventually more damage will occur. Some drugs work on the clots and ensure that the clots dissolve hence reducing the heart’s damage. They are given within one or two hours from the start of a heart attack. For this reason, heart attack patients should be attended to if the signs start to show.
Once stabilized, the patient is taken to the coronary care unit where the emergency department staff will keep a follow-up progress on your hearts health until you are ready to be discharged. At Frontline ER we will give you the best care.