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With Matters of the Heart, Timing Is Everything

Don’t delay seeking care if you experience heart attack symptoms. Every second counts when it comes to emergency cardiovascular care.

According to the National Institutes of Health, you should never drive yourself to the hospital if you think you or someone you love may be having a heart attack; instead, dial 911 immediately. Emergency medical services personnel have medical equipment in the ambulance and can initiate treatment while en route to the hospital. The sooner you arrive at the hospital, the faster treatment can be provided to improve blood flow and halt further damage to the heart.

“At Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, patients with active heart attack symptoms — including discomfort in the chest and upper body, pain that radiates up to the jaw area and down the left arm, shortness of breath, a cold sweat and light-headedness — receive priority care,” says Philip Morales, M.D., interventional cardiologist at Texas Health Plano. “The entire interventional team is available 24 hours a day and can be ready to perform lifesaving techniques in minutes.”

Emergency physicians at Texas Health Plano can implement the heart attack protocol as soon as the patient arrives and has an echocardiogram (EKG), even before the cardiologist is consulted. This saves precious time, expediting care and improving outcomes.

“American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines state that all patients with active heart attacks should have angioplasty within 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital,” says Mark Peterman, M.D., interventional cardiologist and vascular specialist at Texas Health Plano. “At Texas Health Plano, we have been able to accomplish this routinely, and our typical door-to-balloon time is around 70 minutes.”

For more information on cardiovascular services at Texas Health Plano or for a free Healthy Heart Kit, call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).

(Fall/Winter 2009)

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