“The Wicked Truth” about Heart Attacks

HeartHalloween is just around the corner, so we thought we'd share a thought that frightens us all.

Heart attacks are scary and it is still the #1 killer in the adult population in the U.S. It frightens us even more that more than 50% of patients experiencing chest pain walk into the emergency room rather than call 911.

Many times we have asked a patient why he or she did not call 911 for the chest pain. There are numerous reasons, but here are a few we have been told when we were the triage nurse in the emergency room:

I can drive and get here just as fast.” “I would be embarrassed if it is just heartburn.” “I have a family member who can drive me here just as fast.”

What people might not know is that the 911 dispatcher is trained to locate and quickly assist you in early treatment options. The EMS team is trained to quickly identify a heart attack with an ECG, and start treatment immediately. They also can radio ahead to the ED that they are on their way. Some EMS providers can even fax the ECG to the hospital ahead of time. All this adds up to a team work approach among the health professionals, and creates the best possible outcome for the patient with chest pain.

The trick to detecting a heart attack will always depend on you. Early recognition is the key to saving your heart. Put very simply, if you or a loved has chest pain, chest pressure, chest ache, chest tightness, then treat your heart right. ALWAYS and I do mean ALWAYS CALL 911.

Happy Halloween

Submitted by Karen Callahan, RN, and Renne Pfister, RN, Chest Pain Center Coordinators at Franciscan St. Margaret Health

The Chest Pain Centers at both Franciscan St. Margaret Health’s Hammond and Dyer campuses were the first accredited centers in Northwest Indiana and only two of 27 in the state. Accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers means that you can be confident that our Emergency and Cardiac departments have the right specialists, processes and equipment in place to provide the highest level of care for patients experiencing chest pain.