A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is a serious, life-threatening event that occurs when blood flow to your heart is blocked. It can result in long-term damage to your heart muscle.
If you or a loved one suspect a heart attack, call 911 for emergency medical attention.
Dignity Health North State offers advanced, personal care for a heart attack in Northern California. Expert care is available at our hospital emergency departments:
If you or a loved one would like to meet with a cardiologist about symptoms or prevention methods, use our online search tool and Find a Doctor.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Women often have more subtle heart attack symptoms than men, such as nausea and fatigue, in addition to chest pain. The symptoms of a heart attack can come on quickly or set in over a period of time (from a day to several weeks).
Call 911 if you or a loved one have:
- Shortness of breath or any type of difficulty breathing
- Feelings of tightness, fullness, or pain in your chest
- Pressure or burning in your chest that may move to your jaw, shoulders, arms, back, or belly
- Cold sweats
Dignity Health North State ER doctors and nurses are highly trained to assess heart attack symptoms and deliver appropriate care. Don’t wait if you suspect any of these signs. It could save a life and prevent permanent disability.
Heart Attack Causes
Oxygen-rich blood replenishes and supports the heart muscle. When this flow is blocked, it can cause a heart attack. Reasons for blood flow blockages include:
- Plaque buildup and blood clots inside the coronary arteries. This is the primary cause of heart attack.
- Spontaneous coronary artery dissection. This happens when the coronary artery is suddenly torn, which traps and blocks blood flow through the artery to the heart.
- Coronary artery spasm. This narrows the artery and slows or blocks blood flow.
Heart Attack Treatment at Dignity Health North State
Treatment for a heart attack depends on the diagnosis. Emergency room doctors at Dignity Health North State use the following tests to evaluate heart attack symptoms:
- Blood tests
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Coronary angiography
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, heart attack treatment may include:
- Medicines to lower blood pressure or dissolve clots.
- Minimally invasive coronary angioplasty to unblock blood vessels.
- Heart bypass surgery to replace a section of blocked artery with a healthy artery taken from another part of the body.
To learn how to prevent a heart attack, talk with a doctor at Dignity Health North State.
Emergency care providers at Dignity Health North State deliver life-saving treatment for heart attacks in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.