Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

If You Have A Heart Attack, Dial 911, Don't Drive To The ER

Monday, October 27, 2008 - Stem Cell Guru

The title says it all. However, it should be repeated- if you are having a heart attack, dial 911, don't drive to the hospital.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself- "why is that? If my spouse drives me to the hospital or if I drive myself, that must be quicker than waiting for the ambulance to come and pick me up and then take me to the hospital."

Well, you may get to the hospital slightly faster (or you may not due to traffic), but you will not get treatment faster- and they did a study to back that up:

He said people who come to hospital under their own steam can run into numerous delays -- including traffic jams, difficulty finding the ER, lineups once they arrive and the time it takes to be assessed by a triage nurse.

"We did see that people who came in by self (transport), their time to treatment was much longer," he said of the study.

Calling 911 means quicker treatment because paramedics are trained to recognize heart attack symptoms, can begin basic treatment and call ahead, "so the emergency room is prepared and they drive you directly and you're there," Natarajan said.

And we all know that the longer it takes to begin treatment for a heart attack, the more dying heart tissue. In some cases, a delay in treatment can cost a heart attack victim their life.

And these days, many ambulances and the paramedics are equipped to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) on the patient to determine if they are indeed having a heart attack. A study has shown that being given an ECG in the field (before the hospital) can save 30 minutes of treatment at the hospital- 30 minutes that can save a life or save a patient from major heart muscle damage.

So my advice is if you are having a heart attack, don't be a tough guy/gal, don't be a hero- just call 911 and wait for the ambulance to come. We have all seen the bad movies where the pregnant woman is having her baby and she and the frantic husband get into the taxi and tell the driver to "step on it." However, we have to get that image out of our head- call 911 and wait.

Here are some classic heart attack warning signs from the American Heart Association:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
Those can apply to men and women, but you can since women sometimes have slightly different symptoms of a heart attack, here you can find a list of women heart attack symptoms



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