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Heart Attack Care


Time is of the essence when someone is having a heart attack. Heart attacks occur when an artery that carries blood to the heart muscle becomes blocked, usually by a clot. Each minute the heart muscle goes without oxygen, heart tissue is lost and cannot be regained.

At AnMed Health, a multi-disciplinary group of specialists work together to fast-track heart attack patients. This team works closely with EMS to diagnose heart attacks from the field. When patients reach our doors, the Heart Attack Alert Team institutes protocols to confirm the diagnosis and treat patients with the appropriate medication immediately.

This cooperation between EMS, Emergency Services and the Heart and Vascular Center is one reason AnMed Health's door-to-balloon time – the time from a patient's arrival in the Emergency Department to his treatment in the heart catheterization lab – is consistently well below the American College of Cardiology's 90-minute benchmark. Most heart attack patients have a door-to-balloon time of 60 minutes or less.

The preferred way of treating a major heart attack is called a percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI. This is when the cardiologist threads a catheter into the coronary artery and opens the blockage using a stent. For many residents in the Upstate and northeast Georgia, AnMed Health Heart and Vascular Center is the nearest PCI center. AnMed Health LifeFlight, our hospital-based helicopter service, helps transport heart attack patients from outlying areas to the Heart and Vascular Center within minutes. This rapid transport during a heart attack can save your life and preserve your quality of life after a heart attack.

See how fast LifeFlight can get to you. 
Chest Pain Center with PCI
Chest Pain Center with PCI

In 2014, AnMed Health Medical Center was recognized as an accredited "Chest Pain Center with PCI" by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). As a nationally accredited chest pain center, our top priority is to provide fast and effective treatment to patients experiencing chest pain and other signs of a heart attack. One of the criteria of a Chest Pain Center is to significantly reduce the time it takes for a patient experiencing symptoms of a possible heart attack to get to a cardiac catheterization lab where an interventional cardiologist can immediately begin life-saving PCI.

To achieve Chest Pain Center accreditation, AnMed Health has implemented numerous strategies designed to reduce the time it takes to treat a blocked artery. The door-to-balloon time at AnMed Health is about half of the national average. AnMed Health also has been part of a program to place AEDs at crucial places throughout the community. The goal is to improve survival of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest outside the walls of the hospital.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

If you have any of these symptoms or think you're having a heart attack, call 911 right away:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  • Feeling weak, light-headed or faint
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

Often, women do not experience the same heart attack warning signs as men. Common early warning signs in women are:

  • Lower chest pain or abdominal pain
  • Pressure
  • Light headedness, feeling faint or sweating
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
Calling 911 is the best way to get to the hospital. EMS staff can begin life-saving treatment immediately and notify the hospital of your arrival. Remember, in a heart attack time saved is heart muscle saved.

"Hands-Only" CPR
Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States and nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually. Survival depends on immediately getting CPR from someone nearby. Sadly, 89 percent of people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside the hospital die because they don't receive immediate CPR from someone at the scene. The American Heart Association's new "Hands-Only CPR" technique centers around two easy steps: (1) call 911 and (2) push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song "Stayin' Alive."

Widespread CPR training and increased awareness about early heart attack care and the importance of calling 911 are critical to saving lives. For more information on "Hands-Only CPR" or Early Heart Attack Care, visit

Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?

If you think you may be at risk for a heart attack, ask your doctor about HeartScore Plus. This non-invasive screening calculates your risk of heart attack. The screening includes:
  • a 16-slice GE CT scan that checks for coronary artery hard-plaque buildup
  • a comprehensive personal and family health history risk assessment
  • a blood cholesterol test
  • a blood pressure reading
  • an EKG

HeartScore Plus screenings require a physician referral. Appointments can be made through First Call Scheduling by calling (864) 512-6255.

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