A heart attack is a serious, life-threatening event that can result in permanent damage to the heart muscle. Also known as a myocardial infarction, a heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked.
You should call 9-1-1 if you think you are having a heart attack, or experiencing heart attack symptoms. Dignity Health coordinates with local emergency medical personnel to provide immediate care for heart attacks in Arizona.
Chandler Regional Medical Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center are Accredited Chest Pain Centers designated by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. This recognition is given to hospitals that have achieved a high level of expertise in treating patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Depending on the underlying cause, the symptoms of a heart attack may develop suddenly or gradually over a day, several days, or several weeks.
You should call 9-1-1 if you or a loved one is experiencing:
- Pain, tightness, squeezing, or fullness in the chest
- A feeling of burning or pressure that may move from the chest to the shoulders, arms, back, belly, or jaw
- Dizziness or confusion
- Cold sweats
- Problems with breathing, including shortness of breath
For women, heart attack symptoms may include subtle signs, including fatigue and nausea, along with chest pain.
Heart Attack Causes
The primary cause of a heart attack is the blockage of blood flow to the heart. A reduction or blockage of oxygen-rich blood can be caused by blood clots, plaque buildup, coronary artery spasm, or spontaneous coronary artery dissection (a) sudden tear in the artery.
Diagnosis & Heart Attack Treatment at Dignity Health
When you come to a Dignity Health hospital with heart attack symptoms, your doctor may perform one or more diagnostic tests, including:
Treatment for a heart attack may include medications to break up blood clots and lower blood pressure.
If the situation is more severe, heart surgeons at Dignity Health can perform coronary angioplasty, a catheter-based procedure in which a surgeon clears plaque from along the artery wall. In some cases, a stent is placed inside the artery to keep it open.
Another procedure, called coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery or heart bypass surgery, may be performed to replace a blocked portion of an artery with a healthy section taken from another part of the body. Dignity Health is dedicated to the prevention, detection, and treatment of life-threatening cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, in Arizona.