Heart Institute
Print | Share
Find a Doctor Heart & Vascular
Institute Home Page

Emergency Heart Attack Care

Emergency Heart Attack Care
Anne Arundel Medical Center’s emergency heart attack program offers fast-response, life-saving treatment for ST Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI)-the most severe and dangerous form of heart attack. During a STEMI, the blood flow in a coronary artery is completely blocked and requires immediate coronary intervention. Learn more aboutheart attacks and heart attack warning signs below.

Faster, life-saving heart attack treatment
Anne Arundel Medical Center’s emergency heart attack program has saved more than 1,000 lives since its introduction in 2002. By collaborating with local EMS providers, we have dramatically cut response times for emergency coronary intervention to less than one hour from arrival-far quicker than the 90-minute goal recommended by the American Heart Association.

A Certified Intervention Center for heart attack patients
Anne Arundel Medical Center has been designated a Certified Intervention Center (CIC) by the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medicine Services Systems. This means we are the area’s preferred hospital for heart attack care and EMS must bypass closer hospitals that do not have CIC designation.

What is a heart attack?
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when one of more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle. The blockage is often a result of atherosclerosis-a buildup of plaque and other fatty substances. Plaque inhibits and obstructs the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, thus reducing the flow to the rest of the body. The cause of a heart attack is a blood clot that forms within the plaque-obstructed area.

If the blood and oxygen supply is cut off severely or for a long period of time, muscle cells of the heart suffer damage and die. The result is dysfunction of the muscle of the heart in the area affected by the lack of oxygen.

Heart attack warning signs
Not all heart attacks look alike. But most show some or all of these signs:

Call 911 immediately if you begin to experience any of these symptoms. Getting to the hospital at the earliest sign of a heart attack is key to a successful outcome.

How a heart attack is treated
Emergency heart attack treatment requires a procedure known as angioplasty. During angioplasty, a tiny, balloon-tipped tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery-most often in the groin-and threaded to the heart blockage. Once there, the balloon is inflated. This compresses the blockage and makes it easier for blood to flow again. In most cases, a metal stent that helps keep the artery open is inserted at the same time.

All of this is done as quickly as possible. The faster the blocked artery is opened, the smaller the chance that the heart attack will result in death.

« Heart Institute