More than 50% of people suffering from chest pain either drove themselves or had someone drive them to the hospital rather than calling 911, according to a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
American Medical Response Maui recommends that instead of reaching for the car keys, pick up the phone and dial 911 for professional medical care and transport. It’s a phone call that could save a personʻs life, especially if they are experiencing any of the warning signs of a heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating for no apparent reason or discomfort in the arm, back or jaw.
“The heart attack adage ‘time is muscle’ is important to remember,” according to Mona Arcinas, operations manager for AMR Maui. “When a clot in a blood vessel keeps blood from getting to an area of the heart, the muscle starts to die.”
Emergency crews can begin vital diagnostic tests and medical treatment for heart problems and can continue the treatment while en-route to the hospital.
“If a patient’s heart stops, we have a defibrillator on board and can start cardiac arrest treatments immediately. We can provide oxygen, an IV (intra-venous treatment), medications and an electrocardiogram (EKG),” said Arcinas. “We also get multiple vital signs and a repeat EKG on the way to the hospital so that by the time we arrive, many of the diagnostics are done.”
American Medical Response Maui participates in the STEMI Alert program which stands for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction. Through collaboration with hospital systems, it can send heart attack patients’ electrocardiogram information from the ambulance directly to the emergency department personnel prior to the patient’s arrival.
In addition, should a heart attack patient take a turn for the worse, American Medical Response paramedics have the ability and training to intervene.
For more heart attack signs and symptoms, visit heart.org.