Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Having a Heart Attack: Call an Ambulance

A recent study shows that nearly half of all heart attack patients don't call an ambulance. The choice not to call an ambulance has devastating consequences. Calling paramedics decreased the time it took to receive critical life saving care by 50% and increased the chances of critical heart tests being preformed. Simply going to the hospital by any other means significantly increases the chances of a negative outcome.

By calling 911 patients receive electrocardiograms (ECG's) faster, allowing patients to by-pass the ER  thus seeing a Cardiologist sooner. “Getting an ECG by first responders greatly improves the speed of effective care at the hospital,” said the study’s principal investigator James M. McCabe, MD, University of California, San Francisco.

By receiving treatments faster patients have significantly less heart damage. Less heart damage allows for heart attack victims to get out of the hospital sooner, be on less medication, and increase their chances of returning to a normal life.

So why do people wait or worse, not call an ambulance at all?

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