With a Heart Attack - Waiting Can
Western Maine Health Joins In a
Heartbeat to Emphasize Heart Attack Symptom Awareness
and Call 9-1-1 for American Heart
8, 2007 - NORWAY - In recognition of American Heart
Month (February), Western Maine Health and In a
Heartbeat, a key initiative of the Dirigo Health
Agency's Maine Quality Forum, remind Mainers that
delaying treatment for a heart attack needlessly causes
significant damage to the heart and possibly death.
"Despite major advances in medicine, far too many
Mainers still die or become severely disabled due to
heart attacks, because Emergency Care is not being
accessed quickly enough" says Dr. Gus Lambrew, Medical
Director of the In a Heartbeat initiative and former
Senior Advisor for Science and Quality, American College
Maine Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System shows
that 88% of Mainers cannot correctly identify the
warning signs of a heart attack and the need to call
9-1-1 immediately. According to the Office of Data,
Research, and Vital Statistics, heart attacks caused or
contributed to 921 Maine resident deaths in 2004. By
recognizing the signs of heart attack and calling 9-1-1
immediately after symptoms begin, heart muscle can be
Know the Signs of a Heart
Some heart attacks are sudden and
intense, while other heart attacks start slowly, with
mild pain or discomfort. Below are signs of a possible
pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve
discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more
than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It
can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing,
fullness or pain.
o Pain or discomfort in the upper
body (one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach)
o Shortness of breath
o Breaking out in a cold
Not all of
these signs occur in every heart attack, and sometimes
symptoms go away and return. Women are somewhat more
likely than men to experience shortness of breath,
nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
9-1-1 immediately: Time lost is heart muscle lost
Anyone who sees or has any of the listed symptoms should
immediately call 9-1-1.
o Studies show that on
average only about half of heart attack victims call
o Many of those who don't call, either die or
lose some of their physical capacity.
feel embarrassed to call 9-1-1. EMS is here to help
you," says Jay Bradshaw, Director, Maine EMS, and In a
Heartbeat Executive Committee member. "We know that it
can be difficult to know for sure if you or a loved one
is having a heart attack, but we want you to call 9-1-1
and call immediately if you have any symptoms. It's a
call your loved ones will thank you for making."
heart attack victims can benefit from new medications
and treatments. And by calling 9-1-1, treatment can
begin in the ambulance, before you arrive at the
hospital. The emergency room and the cardiac team can be
alerted and ready for your arrival, saving precious
of the State Health Plan, In a Heartbeat is a statewide
coalition of medical providers, Emergency Medical
Services, Maine Center for Disease Control, community
outreach and health advocacy organizations, such as the
American Heart Association Northeast Affiliate, working
to ensure that Mainers having heart attacks receive
timely, quality care, regardless of where they live or
work, and where they are treated.
Maine Health, is part of the Maine Health® family.
Visit Western Maine Health on the Internet at www.wmhcc.org.