When a heart attack strikes, every minute counts. In the race against time, Carolinas HealthCare System is more than 15 minutes faster than the national average at treating heart attacks, and has long defined the world-class standard of excellence.

Each year, an estimated 610,000 Americans have their first heart attack. Another 325,000 people will have a recurrent attack. In these life-threatening emergencies, it’s vital to know that rapid, advanced expertise is in your own backyard. Carolinas HealthCare System’s Chest Pain Network has nine accredited Chest Pain Centers dedicated to rapid delivery of care for patients having chest pain or a suspected heart attack.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Contact us for more information: 877-999-7484

What Causes a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to a portion of the heart is blocked abruptly. In people with coronary artery disease, a buildup of a fatty substance (cholesterol) called plaque within artery walls leads to the development of atherosclerosis, stiffening and narrowing of the arteries. When a piece of plaque ruptures, a blood clot forms inside the artery, acutely stopping blood flow to that portion of the heart. That area of the heart then quickly begins to die. If not treated immediately, this is life-threatening.

Risk Factors for Heart Attack

The main risk factors for heart attack include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • A family history of heart disease

While the average age for a heart attack is about 64 years for men and 70 years for women, men over age 45 and women over age 55 are at increased risk.

Heart Attack Symptoms

The most common symptoms of a heart attack are sudden pain or discomfort in the chest; pain in the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw or upper abdomen; and shortness of breath. Not all heart attacks come on suddenly or with dramatic symptoms. Sometimes symptoms develop slowly over several hours, or come and go. Many women have more subtle symptoms such as discomfort in the stomach, neck or back. Indigestion may also be a symptom of a heart attack.

Treating Heart Attacks Fast Through Our Chest Pain Network

Every second counts for those experiencing a heart attack. Those arriving at a Carolinas HealthCare System hospital receive the most skilled care in the fastest time possible, increasing their odds of survival and full recovery. Carolinas HealthCare System’s “door-to-balloon time” – the speed it takes to open the blocked artery – averages less than 45 minutes*, well below the national 90-minute clinical guideline, and is accompanied by a 6 percent** reduction in the number of deaths from heart attack. From EMS personnel to expert specialists, our Chest Pain Network ensures the best available care when every minute really does count.

*Source - Mission: Lifeline Receiving Center report and ACTION Registry – Get With The Guidelines® data from Q2, 2013.

The Society of Chest Pain Centers is an international not-for-profit organization recognizing hospitals that achieve a higher level of expertise in treating patients exhibiting heart attack symptoms. Nine of our chest pain centers have received this accreditation:

  • Carolinas Medical Center
  • Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy
  • Carolinas HealthCare System Cleveland
  • Carolinas HealthCare System Kings Mountain
  • Carolinas HealthCare System Lincoln
  • Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast
  • Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville
  • Carolinas HealthCare System Union
  • Carolinas HealthCare System University

Call us for more information:

CALL 877-999-7484

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