Heart Attacks

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is when blood flow is blocked to the heart and part of the heart muscle dies.

Other terms for heart attack include:

  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Cardiac Infarction
  • Coronary Thrombosis

When it comes to a heart attack, “time is muscle.” That is why the current national time target for door-to-balloon time is 90 minutes. Door-to-balloon time is defined as time measured from the moment a heart attack patient enters a hospital until the blocked artery is opened either through stenting or angioplasty. At Summa Akron City and Summa Barberton Hospitals, the combined average door-to-balloon time is 66 minutes – well below the 90-minute national standard. Quicker treatment means less heart muscle is damaged. With a better functioning heart muscle, the patient is better able to be active so he/she can return to work and to activities that he/she enjoys. This 66-minute benchmark – combined with a 97% patient satisfaction rating – means emergency cardiac care is available – right in your own community.

Am I having a heart attack?

Men and women often experience different symptoms…know the warning signs!

Men often, but not always, experience the classic warning signs of a heart attack:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that goes away and comes back
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck and arms
  • Chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
  • Trigger: Men most often report physical exertion prior to hear attacks

Women may experience the class symptoms, but they are often milder. Women may also have other symptoms like:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting or dizziness
  • Back or jaw pain
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue Mild flu-like symptoms
  • Trigger: Women most often report emotional distress prior to heart attacks

Most people having a heart attack wait too long to seek medical help, and that can be a fatal mistake.

Patient delay, rather than transport or hospital delay, is the biggest cause of not getting rapid care for heart attacks.

People often take a wait-and-see approach, delaying medical attention because they:

  • Do not understand the symptoms of a heart attack and think that what they are feeling is due to something else. Less than 10% of people experience typical signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Are afraid or unwilling to admit that their symptoms could be serious.
  • Are embarrassed about “causing a scene,” or going to the hospital and finding out it is a false alarm. Remember, 25% of patients – particularly those with diabetes – will not have the classic symptoms
  • Do not understand the importance of getting to the hospital right away. The survival rates are improved up to 50% if treatment is received within 1 hour of symptom onset and 25% if within 3 hours

For more information on all our services or to make an appointment please call (888) 219-9813 or complete the form on the right to download your free Heart Health Guide.

Meet our team and take action at Summa Cardiovascular Institute or find the location nearest you.


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