When patients arrive at Fairfield Medical Center with chest pain, the goal is to get them diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Because of this commitment, FMC was recently recognized as an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Chest Pain Centers, which demonstrates FMC’s commitment to national heart care standards.
“The reason people have a heart attack is a blocked coronary artery,” said Dr. Russell Rudy, Emergency Department physician at FMC. “The quicker the artery can be opened, the less damage will be done to the heart.”
An ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is a type of heart attack caused by a blockage in the heart. The blockage leads to either no blood flow or slow blood flow. The longer the heart goes without blood flow, the longer it goes without oxygen, causing heart muscle to die.
Patients can arrive one of two ways to the Emergency Department: by ambulance or by walking in.
People who are transported by ambulance are given an EKG in the ambulance and the results are transmitted directly to FMC. When they arrive at FMC, those patients are taken directly to the cardiac cath lab. Patients who walk in to the Emergency Department are seen immediately by a nurse and given an EKG right away to determine if they are having a heart attack. If there are any signs of a heart attack, a STEMI alert is called to get the patient quickly to the cath lab.
When someone is experiencing chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack, the safest and quickest way to get to the hospital is by calling 911,” said Rhonda Wells, Fairfield Medical Center Accredited Chest Pain Center coordinator. “During a heart attack, 85 percent of the damage to the heart occurs within the first two hours.”
If you or a loved one is having heart attack symptoms, take an aspirin and call 911.