More than 6 million people visit emergency rooms in the United States each year with chest pain. We understand that minutes can mean the difference between life and death when someone is having a heart attack, known in medicine as a myocardial infarction. Fast, accurate diagnosis of heart attacks (and, in particular, ST-elevation myocardial infarction) is important to ensure a safe and rapid recovery.
That is why we were the first hospital in the region to allow emergency medical services (EMS) to bring patients experiencing heart attack symptoms directly to our cardiac catheterization lab. Bypassing the emergency room, EMS can rapidly transport patients by ambulance or helicopter to our team and reduce treatment time.
At an average of 57 minutes, our door-to-balloon time is well under the 90-minute standard set by the American Heart Association. Together with Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Ky., we have developed a regional referral system for managing ST-elevation myocardial infarction to improve heart health in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.
The blockage is often a result of atherosclerosis – a buildup of plaque composed of fat deposits, cholesterol and other substances. Plaque ruptures, and eventually a blood clot forms. The actual cause of a heart attack is a blood clot that forms within the plaque-obstructed area.
If the blood and oxygen supply is cut off severely or for a long period of time, muscle cells of the heart suffer damage and die. The result is dysfunction of the muscle of the heart in the area affected by the lack of oxygen.
If you or someone you know exhibits any of the heart attack warning signs, act immediately. Call 911 or your local emergency number.
The goal of treatment for a heart attack is to relieve pain, preserve the heart muscle function and prevent death.
Coronary angioplasty. With this procedure, a balloon is used to create a bigger opening in the vessel to increase blood flow. Although angioplasty is performed in other blood vessels elsewhere in the body, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) refers to angioplasty in the coronary arteries to permit more blood flow into the heart. PCI is also called percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). There are several types of PTCA procedures, including:
Once the condition has been treated and the patient is released, we recommend a referral to cardiac rehabilitation, which can improve recovery, reduce the need for repeat hospitalizations and even save lives.