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Heart Attack? Don’t Panic, Do Dial 911

 

I’m going to make this quick, because if ever faced with such an emergency, you won’t have much time to make a decision.

If you think that you or someone near you is having a heart attack, call 911.

Heart attacks happen. There are things we can do to lower the risk and even screenings that can help predict if you’re at risk for one, like coronary CT calcium scoring, but there’s invariably the risk that an artery supplying blood to the heart is going to become blocked, starving the heart of oxygen and causing a heart attack.

When one happens, the fastest way to receive care is to call 911 for an ambulance.

Ambulance services station ambulances throughout the region, making for faster response times. Plus, most ambulances in our region are outfitted with special equipment that allows the paramedics to take an EKG in the ambulance and securely transmit that reading to a Tanner emergency department. There, a board-certified emergency medicine physician can interpret the EKG, determine if the patient is having a heart attack and arrange to have a heart care team on standby when the patient arrives.

This reduces the need for additional testing at the hospital and enables medical personnel to provide treatment faster.

In addition, should the patient need additional emergency treatment en route to the hospital — defibrillation, for instance, to shock the heart back into rhythm — the equipment to do that is available on the ambulance.

It’s important not to wait — the longer the heart is deprived of oxygen, the more damage is done. Heart tissue doesn’t regenerate, so the damage can be permanent, limiting the heart’s ability to effectively supply blood to the rest of your body or even resulting in death.

Tanner Health System has opened accredited Tanner Chest Pain Centers in Carrollton and Villa Rica, providing fast, evidence-based, quality driven care to assess, diagnose and treat chest pain. Tanner facilities in both cities also offer angioplasty and stenting services, offering a minimally invasive approach to quickly and effectively restore the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

So when it comes to a heart attack, don’t wait, act fast and call 911.

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