What to Expect When You Visit the ER for Chest Pain

Chest pain is perhaps the best-known symptom of a heart attack, although it has many other possible causes, and heart attacks can cause many other symptoms. However, given the risk of a deadly heart attack, all patients who arrive at the emergency care entrance complaining of chest pain are evaluated rapidly and treated appropriately. In Las Vegas, families can count on Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center for exceptional emergency care and cutting-edge heart attack treatments.

In diagnosing a heart attack, the first step is typically an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). A specially trained technician will apply multiple electrodes to your skin to record the electrical activity of the heart. This test is painless, noninvasive, and takes just a few minutes. The results are available rapidly to advise the heart care team of whether heart attack intervention is needed.

Blood Tests
Along with an EKG, emergency care physicians can request blood tests to confirm the diagnosis or to rule out the possibility of a heart attack. When the blood supply to the heart is obstructed, the heart cells begin to die. This process releases proteins into the bloodstream. A blood test will show whether you have high levels of these proteins.

Medications can be administered to break up a blood clot that is blocking the coronary artery. Thrombolytic drugs, also known as clot busters, are most effective when administered shortly after the heart attack occurs. By breaking up the blood clot, these medicines can restore blood flow to the heart .

Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive method of opening blocked blood vessels with medical instruments. The cardiologist will insert a thin, flexible catheter into a blood vessel. This device is guided to the coronary arteries. There, the cardiologist can release a special dye that allows him or her to evaluate the flow of blood through the blood vessels and heart. If a blockage is located, the cardiologist can use the catheter to inflate a special balloon that compresses the plaque and blood clot against the arterial walls. This restores blood flow.

Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is a Chest Pain Center accredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). This designation reflects our emergency care and heart care teams’ commitment to initiating protocols-driven responses for all chest pain patients. All true medical emergencies should be reported to a 911 dispatcher. Non-emergent questions about our hospital services in Las Vegas can be answered by a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.

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