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What is the most important factor in treating a heart attack?

Symptoms of a heart attack vary from chest pain to shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and even jaw pain. If you notice these symptoms, call 911 immediately because trained medical professionals can start treatment right away, and every minute counts.

Those healthcare professionals will perform an electrocardiogram (EKG) on you and transmit the results to the closest emergency department. There, the emergency room doctor will review the EKG and can activate the cardiac catheterization laboratory, which includes calling in all the cardiac catheterization lab technicians, nurses and doctors.

If you have a completely closed artery, the standard of care is for that artery to be opened within 90 minutes of you going to the emergency department. Doctors say that time is muscle: The more time that passes from the onset of your chest pain, the more heart muscle that dies.

Dr. Dede Bonner
Health Education Specialist

The most important factor in treating a heart attack is time. Dr. Spencer B. King, III, an executive director and the interim president of the Saint Joseph’s Heart and Vascular Institute in Atlanta, says, “Time is muscle. Time is the key ingredient.”

The good news is that many heart attack survivors have an excellent prognosis thanks to modern advances. This is especially true if treatment is started within one hour of the onset of symptoms.

Dr. Timothy J. Gardner, the former president of the American Heart Association, concludes, “I want to make one thing very clear. There is well-established evidence that the emergency treatment of heart attack patients with emergency or very rapid catheterization or clot-busting drugs with catheters is the best treatment for patients with acute heart attacks.”

The 10 Best Questions for Recovering from a Heart Attack: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health

More About this Book

The 10 Best Questions for Recovering from a Heart Attack: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health

A good mind knows the right answers, but a great mind knows the right questions. And never are the Best Questions more important than after the life-altering event of surviving a heart attack or being diagnosed with heart disease. Drawing on cutting-edge research and advice from internationally prominent cardiologists, the president of the American Heart Association, award-winning personal trainers and nutritionists, and experts in healthy lifestyles, smoking cessation, alcohol abuse, stress management, spirituality, relationships, sex, and financial planning, The 10 Best Questions™ for Recovering from a Heart Attack is a holistic guide you'll take with you into your doctor's office and keep close to you through every step of your treatment and recovery. With a wealth of resources and up-to-the-minute information, The 10 Best Questions™ for Recovering from a Heart Attack shows you and your family how to move beyond your fears and use the power of the Best Questions and Magic Questions (the smartest questions most people never think to ask) to become your own best advocate for your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.