Expert heart attack treatment

Our heart attack specialists at Sky Ridge Medical Center are trained in the rapid evaluation of patients, bringing together ER physicians, cardiologists and nurses who work as a team to establish a comprehensive management plan for patients with chest pain.

If you think you might be experiencing a heart attack, please call 9-1-1.
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Warning signs of a heart attack

Heart attacks can be unexpected and intense, but they can also be slow moving with mild pain or discomfort. People who are affected by these milder symptoms are not sure what’s wrong until it’s too late. The most common signs of a heart attack are:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
Other, less common symptoms of a heart attack include:
  • Atypical chest pain, stomach or abdominal pain
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
  • Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness

The importance of high-quality heart care close to home

Many people delay getting medical attention when they are having a heart attack. In fact, the average patient does not get to the ER until more than two hours after the onset of symptoms. Waiting is a mistake--the sooner a heart attack is diagnosed and treated, the less damage is caused to the heart.

Sky Ridge Medical Center’s state-of-the-art cardiac care program encompasses the entire continuum of care for the heart patient and includes such focal points as the Cardiac Alert program with our first responders in the field, a Level III Trauma Center and emergency room, two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs, 64-slice CTA, a cardiac rehab program and community outreach.

Accredited Chest Pain Center in Denver

Sky Ridge Medical Center has been re-accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC), an international organization dedicated to eliminating heart disease as the number one cause of death worldwide, as an Accredited Chest Pain Center.

Society of Chest Pain Centers Accreditation

Hospitals that have received SCPC accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.

Chest pain center accreditation process

To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To the community served by Sky Ridge, this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:

  • Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
  • Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
  • Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital
  • Educating the community about reducing their risk of heart attack
To speak to a specialist about our our cardiac services, please call (303) 645-0090.

Pre-heart attack care

Early heart attack care (EHAC) education promotes awareness that heart attacks have “beginnings&4dquo;&emdash;the symptoms below could occur days or weeks before the actual event. Unfortunately, when these early signs are ignored, we miss a “window of opportunity” to prevent the attack before any heart damage can occur.

Early indications of a heart attack

Shortness of breath without exertion

Although most of us experience shortness of breath when we are exercising or expending energy outside of what we do normally, difficulty breathing when performing normal activities is an early sign that should be investigated.

Heartburn

The sensation of heartburn or a burning in the chest can be mapped to spicy food and quickly discarded. This sensation can also be an early sign of a heart attack, especially if the condition becomes chronic. If you find yourself taking over-the-counter antacids on a regular basis, the underlying cause of your trouble needs to be discussed with your doctor.

Discomfort or pain

Although we think of heart pain as pain occurring in the area of the heart, for some individuals this is not the case. People who have suffered a heart attack have described their early symptoms everywhere from crushing to squeezing to pressure occurring in the chest and even other areas of the body. Shoulders, neck and jaw are areas reportedly affected prior to a heart attack. Always seek immediate attention if you are experiencing this type of pain, even if the symptoms disappear or are only intermittent.

A feeling of impending doom

Some patients describe a feeling of anxiety and fear prior to the occurrence of a heart attack. Although not usually thought of as an early symptom, and certainly attributable to other matters, this "feeling" can still be an early indicator, especially when combined with any of the other symptoms listed above.