In the event of a serious heart attack, the time that passes between a patient’s arrival in the emergency room and the restoration of blood flow to the heart through cardiac catheterization is called door-to-balloon time. Tom Harris, MD, board certified Emergency Medicine physician, explained why it’s so important to keep door-to-balloon time at a minimum. “The first objective of treating a heart attack is to start treatment as soon as possible, since muscle tissue dies permanently in six hours. The sooner you restore blood flow to the heart, the more muscle tissue you can save. Likewise, the longer you wait, the greater the chance of irreparable damage. I often explain this by using the slogan, ‘time is muscle.’”
“The hallmark of a good cardiac program is one that runs efficiently day or night, weekend or weekday. I’m confident that we have just that here at Baptist Health Floyd. Our team is on-call 24/7 to respond to heart attack emergencies, and we’re constantly striving to improve and reduce our treatment times so that patients keep optimum heart muscle functioning.”
Tom Harris, MD, FACEP
Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician
Floyd Emergency Medical Associates
He continued, “To achieve optimal door-to-balloon times for our patients, Baptist Health Floyd created its 60 Minute Team over two years ago. While the national standard for door-to-balloon time is 90 minutes, our goal is to achieve times consistently less than 60 minutes, which we’re confident will result in even better results for our heart attack patients. Right now, our times are averaging 70-80 minutes, exceeding the national standard. We’ve even had several recent times in the 30 and 40-minute range, which we are absolutely thrilled with. Patients coming to Baptist Health Floyd for heart attack care can be confident that they are in the hands of caregivers who truly understand that time is of the essence in heart attack treatment.”
- Chest discomfort
- Unexplained weakness or fatigue
- Indigestion or gas-like pain
- Shortness of breath
- Pain spreading to the jaw, neck, shoulders or arm
- Discomfort or pain between the shoulder blades
- Sense of impending doom
Men and women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are more likely to experience other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea and back or jaw pain.
If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For a free Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack magnet, call 1-800-4-SOURCE (1-800-476-8723).