Heart attack care

​​​​​​​​​Heart Attack 

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you or someone else has chest discomfort or other heart attack symptoms.

Expert care to minimize the risk of a heart attack

When you have a heart attack, every second matters. The longer you wait to get care, the more heart muscle you lose. Quick access to specialized cardiovascular care can save your life and protect your heart.

The Christ Hospital's Advanced Heart Attack Center is Greater Cincinnati's heart care leader. As a Center of Excellence in heart attack care, we help patients 90% faster than other hospitals nationally. We're also the only hospital in the region recognized by the American Heart Association for delivering timely care that leads to good heart attack outcomes. 

Our heart attack care team uses the most advanced technologies and minimally invasive techniques to limit damage to your heart muscle. Our team offers:

  • 24/7 care with specialty-trained heart doctors (interventional cardiologists)

  • 24-hour heart imaging and procedure lab services with state-of-the-art equipment

  • Ambulance-to-emergency room communication to speed treatment

  • Opportunities for access to innovative clinical trials

  • Personalized treatment options

  • Specialists trained to treat chronic total occlusions (arteries blocked for a long time)​

You can trust our advanced heart attack care team to provide the most comprehensive, compassionate care available.
If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911. If you previously had a heart attack and want a second option about your follow-up care, call us at 513-206-1270.​

​​What is a heart attack? 

A heart attack (also called a myocardial infarction) is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a blockage in an artery interrupts the regular flow of blood to your heart. That lack of blood flow damages your heart muscle. And if blood flow isn't restored quickly, a heart attack can cause permanent heart damage (heart failure) or death. 

A heart attack is different from cardiac arrest. A heart attack is like a plumbing problem — a blood clot blocks your arteries similar to a clog in a pipe. Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem that causes your heart to suddenly and unexpectedly stop beating.

​Heart attack risk factors

Several factors can put you at risk of having a heart attack. Most you can control, but others you cannot. The most common risk factors include:

  • ​Age: Men over age 45 and women over age 55

  • Diabetes: High blood sugar damages blood vessels and nerves that control the heart

  • Family history: Early heart attack in a sibling, parent or grandparent

  • High blood pressure: Blood flow that is more forceful than normal makes the heart work harder

  • High cholesterol: Plaque build-up reduces blood flow in arteries

  • Kidney disease: Heart muscles pump harder to get blood to damaged kidneys

  • Obesity: Excessive body fat is linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes

  • Smoking: Chemicals in cigarettes cause plaque build-up in the arteries (atherosclerosis), reducing blood flow

​​Family history​

You can't change your family history. But our experts can detect your growing symptoms before you have a heart attack. CT and MRI scans can identify artery blockages at the earliest stages. With this knowledge, our team can recommend a treatment or medication to help you avoid a heart attack.​

Genetic counseling

Genetic counseling can help in two ways. Trained counselors can recommend appropriate genetic tests that may reveal valuable information about inherited risks for heart disease. These tests may also identify underlying genetic conditions we can address to improve your overall heart health and reduce your risk for heart attack.​

​Heart attack symptoms

Heart attack symptoms can vary. It's possible to have a heart attack and not experience symptoms. And some people have mild signs while others experience severe symptoms.

The most common signs of a heart attack include:

  • ​Chest pain, pressure, tightness, squeezing or discomfort

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Fatigue

  • Heartburn or indigestion

  • Nausea

  • Pain in the neck, shoulder, jaw or down the left arm

  • Shortness of breath

  • Unexplained sweating

Women may experience a heart attack differently than men, and their symptoms may be more subtle. Recent research shows women are more likely to experience lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath and sleeping problems. They may also break out in a cold sweat or experience upper body pain, not in the chest.

Heart attack symptoms by gender

​​What to do if you're having a heart attack

If you're at risk of having a heart attack, it's a good idea to have a written action plan and discuss it with your family. Having a plan makes it easier to get the emergency treatment you need. Your plan should include: 

  • Your name

  • Primary doctor's name

  • Heart doctor's name

  • Preferred hospital

  • Current medications

  • Emergency contact

If you're experiencing any symptoms associated with a heart attack, follow these steps:

  • Call 911: Don't wait — remember, the longer you wait to get help, the more damaged your heart will be. Emergency medical services have the advanced equipment, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), needed to diagnose you before you even reach the hospital.

  • Take a chewable aspirin: Aspirin works as a blood thinner and a pain reliever. Take a standard 325-mg dose (or four 81-mg baby aspirin) of chewable (non-coated) aspirin. Chewing the aspirin ensures it will work as quickly as possible.

  • ​Rest: Avoid any activity until help arrives.

​​Innovative heart attack treatments at The Christ Hospital

We are a Cardiology Center of Excellence. Alongside our expert team, we offer access to groundbreaking therapies designed to reduce the damage to your heart and help you return to your favorite activities. Our standard and innovative treatment options include:

  • ​Blood thinners and clot-busting medications

  • Coronary artery bypass grafting

  • Leading-edge stent designs to open blocked arteries

  • Mechanical circulatory devices (Impella®, TandemHeart, ECMO and left ventricular assist device)

  • Oxygen therapy

  • Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)

  • Shockwave treatments to break apart harder blockages

  • Stem cell and regenerative therapies to treat heart failure

​​Recovering from a heart attack

After having a heart attack, you will always need special heart care. But returning to your normal life is possible.

Routine follow-up visits and tests will help monitor your health. Your heart doctor will also likely recommend medication, such as blood thinners or cholesterol-lowering medications (statins). In addition, they may prescribe cardiac rehabilitation​ and physical therapy to help you return to a more active lifestyle.

​Getting a second opinion

Doctor visits are short. You may not always have the time to discuss your recovery plan thoroughly with your primary doctor. We recommend taking notes before your appointments to ensure you bring up all your concerns. If you're unhappy with your recovery plan after these conversations, you may want a second opinion, and we can help.

At The Christ Hospital, our heart attack experts are available to discuss other novel treatments with you. We can explore leading-edge recovery options to help you achieve your best outcomes.

To get a second opinion from an expert cardiologist with The Christ Hospital Heath Network, click here or call us at 513-206-1270.