Published on April 06, 2015

Heart attack care en route

You’ve just dialed 911 after noticing heart attack symptoms.

ekg stripThat was a potentially lifesaving decision.

Also, by calling for an ambulance, you’re about to get access to state-of-the-art technology called LIFENET.

This heart-smart system is being piloted in Northeast Philadelphia and other areas of the city. LIFENET allows paramedics to swiftly identify whether you’re having a dangerous type of heart attack known as a STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) by performing an electrocardiogram (EKG) in the ambulance. The team can then communicate this information to the hospital care team. Nazareth’s heart attack team reads the EKG remotely and snaps into action to prepare for your arrival. The team can then treat you as quickly as possible once you arrive at the hospital.

The time from arrival to treatment is known as door-to-balloon time. It begins when the patient enters the hospital and ends with the balloon catheter inflation within the blocked artery. At Nazareth Hospital, LIFENET is helping to reduce door-to-balloon time so patients have a greater chance of a positive outcome.

Specialists at work

Doctors who treat patients in the cath lab are known as interventional cardiologists. They specialize in diagnosing and treating heart problems including opening the blocked arteries that trigger heart attacks using procedures such as angioplasty and stenting instead of surgery. They can also use those procedures to open blocked arteries elsewhere in the body, including the legs and kidneys.

Our cardiac catheterization lab is fully equipped to receive and care for heart attack patients all day, every day.

Heart attack warning signs

Not all heart attacks look alike. But most show some or all of these signs:

  1. Chest pain or pressure that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes.
  2. Pain or discomfort in the arms, back, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath.
  4. A sudden cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

If you think you or someone near you may be having a heart attack, call 911.

Source: American Heart Association