Athens Regional Health System
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Emergency Heart Care

When you have a heart attack, it is a life and death emergency. The faster you get to a hospital for treatment, the less damage to your heart.

Call 911 right away for immediate heart emergency care if you are having any of these signs and symptoms:

Most Common Heart Attack Warning Signs

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

How Heart Attacks Happen

Blood vessels circulate blood to every part of your body. If there are disease-causing blockages in one part of your body, you are at higher risk to have blockages occurring in other parts as well. A heart attack occurs when there is a complete blockage of blood flow in a coronary artery.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) occurs when the vessels in the legs are narrowed or clogged. If you have had a heart attack, stroke or PAD, you are at higher risk for all of these diseases.

Heart Emergency Care: Every Second Counts

The American Heart Association's recommended "door-to-balloon-time" (the time lapsed from when a patient enters a hospital to the re-establishment of coronary artery flow using primary angioplasty) is under 90 minutes. This is also our goal - and achieving it can drastically improve a patient's chance of surviving a heart attack.

Angioplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves passing a small balloon or stent to the heart to open a blocked artery. Angioplasty has recently been shown to be superior compared with other strategies for treating certain types of heart attacks.

Athens Regional is the most experienced and comprehensive area hospital that can perform primary angioplasties for the treatment of heart attacks, and the best and most rapid cardiovascular services in North Georgia.

See how Athens Regional Medical Center ranks for the nationally recommended time of 90 minutes for "Door-to-Balloon" time -- a critical statistic for heart emergency care that can mean the difference between life and death.

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