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Finley Sets Record Time for Treating Heart Attacks Fast

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family in the snow

Do you know what a 'door-to-balloon' time is? You may or may not know the actual definition of door-to-balloon time, but that’s not what’s important. What’s most important is that you know the right steps to take in the event of a heart attack so that your door-to-balloon time is short, because every minute from the time you get through the hospital doors to the time you undergo surgery for your blocked artery matters. For instance, a STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) is a serious type of heart attack that requires the quickest of actions for life-saving measures. At UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital, we are focused on excellence for our door-to-balloon time so patients have the best outcomes possible. By the way, our fastest door-to-balloon time in 2017 was 24 minutes, over an hour faster than the 90-minute window recommended by the American Heart Association. Let us help you get the best outcome possible.

Heart Attack Symptoms

Heart attack symptoms appear differently for men and women; and unfortunately, not all symptoms are obvious. That’s why it’s important to know the signs. Pain associated with a heart attack isn’t always intense chest pain. Other symptoms that can be indicative of a heart attack are shoulder pain, sweating, vomiting, shortness of breath or feelings of tiredness. At the first sign of a heart attack, it’s important to call 911. When symptoms start, the countdown on those important minutes that save lives starts.

What Happens in a Heart Attack?

There are several different types of heart attacks, but the common condition for each is all or part of the heart muscle isn’t getting enough blood or oxygen; typically a result of a blocked blood vessel. If a heart attack is caught at the beginning – or an early stage of the heart attack – the heart can be treated before the heart suffers extensive damage. 85 percent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack.

Door-to-Balloon Time

Given the importance of acting quickly in the event of a heart attack, Finley’s emergency department and cath lab work closely together streamlining the process for STEMI patients. The American Heart Association recommends that the door-to-balloon time be within 90 minutes. This means from the time the ambulance service starts transmitting information to the ER to the time the first device used in the cath lab – there should only be a 90-minute window. Opt to take an ambulance in the event of the heart attack, because waiting at your home for help to arrive is a lot safer than waiting in your car for a stoplight to turn green. Not to mention, door-to-balloon times are often shorter for those who arrive via ambulance.

When Minutes Matter

In the event of a heart attack, Finley Hospital is prepared to take the quickest of actions – giving our patients the best outcome. When coming by ambulance, our team of doctors and nurses are prepared to get you to the cath lab immediately. No extra stops, no extra tests in the ER – our cath lab will handle all of your needs to ensure the block is opened as quickly as possible. And since our cath lab is located directly above our ER – there’s no time lost navigating the hospital hallways. 

No one ever expects to have a heart attack. That’s why it’s even more important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and why action is needed quickly. Finley’s Heart and Vascular Center is a state-of-the-art facility led by an expert team of cardiologists. Read more about Finley’s heart services and or our most recent record door-to-balloon time to see why Finley’s the right choice for your heart.