If you have chest pain, every moment counts. Get to our chest pain center fast; call 911. We're the region's only fully accredited Chest Pain Center. For us, at Northeast Regional, that means we've achieved an unprecedented level of speed, intervention and expertise for treating heart attacks. For you, it means you have the peace of mind that your local hospital is so well prepared.
Northeast Regional Chest Pain Center
When dealing with potential heart attacks, every second counts. Wouldn't you want to be treated at a center that has been nationally accredited with certified physicians and procedures to expedite every step?
In June 2006, the Chest Pain Center of Northeast Regional Medical Center received full accreditation status from the Society of Chest Pain Center’s Accreditation Review Committee.
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. The goal of the Society of Chest Pain Centers is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.
The Chest Pain Center at Northeast Regional Medical Center has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and completing on-site evaluations by a review team from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Key areas in which a Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include:
- Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
- Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
- Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
- Ensuring Chest Pain Center personnel competency and training
- Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack
When you are having a heart attack, the amount of time that elapses from the onset of symptoms to treatment to correct the problem makes all the difference. If you are having heart attack symptoms, call 911 immediately. When you arrive at Northeast Regional Medical Center, trained staff will begin immediate treatment with clot busters that will help your heart until you can be transferred to a facility that will remove coronary artery blockages.
Northeast Regional Medical Center staff consistently demonstrates the efficient cardiac team response needed to help our heart attack patients prevent death, limit damage to the heart muscle and improve long-term recovery. Physician specialists that care for our Chest Pain Patients include:
- Emergency Room Physicians
- Internal Medicine Physicians
- Family Practice Physicians
What Is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a section of heart muscle becomes blocked. If the flow of blood isn’t restored quickly, the section of heart muscle becomes damaged from lack of oxygen and begins to die.
Heart attack is a leading killer of both men and women in the United States. But fortunately, today there are excellent treatments for heart attack that can save lives and prevent disabilities. Treatment is most effective when started within 1 hour of the beginning of symptoms. If you think you or someone you’re with is having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 right away.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack?
Not all heart attacks begin with a sudden, crushing pain that is often shown on TV or in the movies. The warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack aren’t the same for everyone. Many heart attacks start slowly as mild pain or discomfort. Some people don’t have symptoms at all (this is called a silent heart attack).
Chest Pain or Discomfort
The most common symptom of heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. It can be mild or severe. Heart attack pain can sometimes feel like indigestion or heartburn.
Other Common Signs and Symptoms
Other common signs and symptoms that a person can have during a heart attack include:
- Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- Shortness of breath may often occur with or before chest discomfort
- Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, lightheadedness or fainting, or breaking out in a cold sweat
Not everyone having a heart attack experiences the typical symptoms. If you’ve already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one. The more signs and symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you’re having a heart attack.
Sometimes the signs and symptoms of a heart attack happen suddenly, but they can also develop slowly, over hours, days, and even weeks before a heart attack occurs.
Know the warning signs of a heart attack so you can act fast to get treatment for yourself or someone else. The sooner you get emergency help, the less damage there will be to your heart.
Call 9–1–1 for help within 5 minutes if you think you may be having a heart attack or if your chest pain doesn’t go away as it usually does when you take prescribed medicine.
Don’t drive yourself or anyone else to the hospital. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.
Who Is At Risk for a Heart Attack?
Certain risk factors make it more likely that you will develop coronary artery disease (CAD) and have a heart attack. Some risk factors for heart attack can be controlled, while others can't.
Major risk factors for heart attack that you can control include:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Overweight and obesity
- Physical inactivity
- Diabetes (high blood sugar)
Risk factors that you can't change include:
- Age. Risk increases for men older than 45 years and for women older than 55 years (or after menopause).
- Family history of early CAD. Your risk increases if your father or a brother was diagnosed with CAD before 55 years of age, or if your mother or a sister was diagnosed with CAD before 65 years of age.
How Is a Heart Attack Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of heart attack is based on your symptoms, your personal and family medical history, and the results of diagnostic tests.
This test detects and records the electrical activity of the heart. Certain changes in the appearance of the electrical waves on an EKG are strong evidence of a heart attack. An EKG also can show if you’re having arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which a heart attack (and other conditions) can cause.
During a heart attack, heart muscle cells die and burst open, letting certain proteins out in the bloodstream. Blood tests can measure the amount of these proteins in the bloodstream. Higher than normal levels of these proteins in the bloodstream is evidence of a heart attack.
Commonly used blood tests include troponin tests, CK or CK–MB tests, and serum myoglobin tests. Blood tests are often repeated to check for changes over time.
How Can a Heart Attack Be Prevented?
Lowering your risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) can help you prevent a heart attack. Even if you already have CAD, you can still take steps to lower your risk of heart attack. Reducing the risk of heart attack usually means making healthy lifestyle choices. You also may need treatment for medical conditions that raise your risk.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent heart attack include:
- Following a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Pay careful attention to the amounts and types of fat in your diet. Lower your salt intake. These changes can help lower high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
- Losing weight if you’re overweight or obese.
- Quitting smoking.
- Doing physical activity to improve heart fitness. Ask your doctor how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.
Treat Related Conditions
In addition to making lifestyle changes, you can help prevent heart attacks by treating conditions you have that make a heart attack more likely:
- High blood cholesterol. You may need medicine to lower your cholesterol if diet and exercise aren’t enough.
- High blood pressure. You may need medicine to keep your blood pressure under control.
- Diabetes (high blood sugar). If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar levels through diet and physical activity (as your doctor recommends). If needed, take medicine as prescribed.
Have an Emergency Action Plan
Make sure that you have an emergency action plan in case you or someone else in your family has a heart attack. This is especially important if you’re at high risk or have already had a heart attack. Talk with your doctor about the signs and symptoms of heart attack, when you should call 9–1–1, and steps you can take while waiting for medical help to arrive.