Most of the 1.2 million Americans who suffer a heart attack each year go for hours without getting help, because they’re embarrassed to call 911, or they can’t believe a heart attack might be happening to them. As a result, instead of receiving the immediate care that Emergency Medical Service teams offer, roughly a third die before getting to a hospital.

Coliseum Health System is working to decrease the time between the onset of cardiac symptoms and hospital treatment by promoting the use of 911 for possible heart related emergencies. While in transit, EMS can initially diagnose a heart attack, and transmit full 12-lead EKG information from transporting ambulances to one of the Coliseum hospitals, triggering activation of the hospital’s emergency catheterization team and rapid intervention upon patient arrival. Clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. But to be effective, these treatments must be given quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear.

So if symptoms occur, don’t waste time with all the reasons you shouldn’t call for help, remember the reasons you should call 911. Don’t delay, call within 5 minutes. The immediate attention and time saving Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provides is very likely to save your life in an emergency.

  • Seconds count in preventing damage to heart muscle. EMS could save you an hour.
  • EMS equipment can often reverse cardiac arrest.
  • En route diagnosis and EKG forwarding allows faster hospital treatment.

Know the Symptoms of Heart Attack

If you experience any of these heart attack symptoms, don’t wait; dial 911 for help right away.

  • Chest discomfort or tightness
  • Discomfort in areas of the upper body, like the arms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness or nausea