Heart catheterization (or coronary angiography) can help identify any blockage in the heart. Learn more about this heart attack treatment procedure from Baptist Health.
Scott Cook, MD, Interventional Cardiology:
There’s over 735,000 patients who have a heart attack every year. About two-thirds of those patients, that’s their very first heart attack. The major warning signs for a heart attack would be chest pain or chest discomfort, pain in the left arm, you might get pain that radiates into the neck or the jaw, sometimes you get extremely sweaty. We also know that women present a little atypically — they tend to have more GI symptoms, they might get a burning in the stomach that radiates into the chest.
The sooner you suspect a heart attack and the quicker you get medical care, the faster we can intervene and abort the heart attack. The standard treatment is to go in and basically open up that blockage. We do that with a procedure called coronary angiography or a heart cath. We go up with very small tubes into the arteries of the heart and look at it under an X-ray, and that will identify the blockage. If we do find blockage, we can then use balloons and stents to open that artery up. The quicker you get that artery open again, the more potential heart muscle we can save, and the better patients tend to do.
After that, we’re pretty aggressive with modifying risk factors. One of the most important things we do is get patients enrolled in cardiac rehab, which we also have here at Baptist Richmond. Within about two weeks, we get them enrolled in a monitored exercise program. My hope is that they come out feeling better than they did prior to their heart attack.
Are you curious about your heart health? Learn how the Baptist Health Richmond Heart Care team works as a team to help patients.About Richmond Heart Care