Your chest tightens, you’re sweating, and then it hits you: you’re having a heart attack. You have a very short window of time to make decisions that could save your life, and the doctors at McLaren Greater Lansing have some things to keep in mind.
A heart attack happens because of a blocked artery that cuts off blood flow to your body’s most important muscle, the heart. “If we’re able to open up the artery within 90 minutes of a heart attack, that reduces the risk of congestive heart failure and death, substantially,” says Dr. Ibrahim Shah, Interventional Cardiologist at McLaren Greater Lansing.
When the clock is ticking, calling 911 is the most critical decision you can make. “Calling for an ambulance is a great first step,” said Dr. Shah. “First responders will usually be able to do an EKG on the spot, and ambulances can send the EKG information back to the hospital.
That information can tell doctors if a patient is having a heart attack and allow for the cardiology team to be ready when they come through the emergency room door.”
Once a patient is diagnosed, doctors can immediately begin working to open the blocked artery. “We want our patients to have the artery opened up within 90 minutes of coming through our doors,” said Dr. Shah.
Many patients are taken to a cardiac catheterization lab for a procedure called an angioplasty. “We open up the blocked artery by putting a wire through the blockage, then we can use a balloon to restore blood flow and put a stent in to keep the artery open,” said Dr. Shah.
Remembering that every moment counts can help you act as quickly as possible to help doctors save your life.
To find a doctor, or find out more about how you can lower your risk for heart attack, visit mclaren.org/lansingproviders today!