When you have symptoms of a heart attack, or any other cardiac event, every second counts. Patients in central Connecticut know that they can count on the Heart Center at MidState for timely, expert cardiac care.
With all board certified cardiologists, state-of-the-art emergency as well as an advanced cardiac and neurological testing suite, the Heart Center at MidState provides the fast, personalized care patients need to ensure the best possible outcome.
Working closely with our Emergency Department physicians, MidState's cardiologists ensure that each patient receives state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and treatment right away. In fact, MidState became one of the first community hospitals in the area to partner with EMS crews to enhance the treatment of heart attack patients. By utilizing advanced technology, ambulance crews are now able to perform diagnostic tests right at the site of the patient, and work with the MidState emergency department team, to make a diagnosis and initiate treatment more quickly.
Should you require a higher level of services not provided by MidState, we will transfer you to a tertiary-care center, such as Hartford Hospital, where you will receive the very best care required by your condition.
Our countless favorable outcomes are proof that our heart is always caring for yours.
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, the "movie heart attack" where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.
Here are the signs that can mean you're having a heart attack:
- Chest 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.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath
May occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs
May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. As with men, a woman's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Learn the signs above, but remember this: Even if you're not sure if you're having a heart attack, have it checked out.
Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives - maybe even your own. So don't wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1. Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment when they arrive - up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. The staff is also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped.
Not all these signs occur in every heart attack or stroke. Sometimes they go away and return. If some occur, get help fast!
Coronary heart disease is America's No. 1 killer. Stroke is No. 3 and a leading cause of serious disability. That's why it's so important to reduce your risk factors, know the warning signs, and know how to respond quickly and properly if warning signs occur.
Today, heart attack and stroke victims can benefit from new medications and treatments unavailable to patients in years past. For example, clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. But to be effective, these drugs must be given quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. So again, don't delay - get help right away!
Act in Time
The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have launched a new "Act in Time" campaign to increase people's awareness of heart attack and the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately at the onset of heart attack symptoms.
Here are the signs that you might be having a cardiac arrest:
- Sudden loss of responsiveness (no response to tapping on shoulders)
- No normal breathing (the victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds)
- If these signs of cardiac arrest are present, tell someone to call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available) and you begin CPR immediately.
Blood Pressure Basics
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries. The top number is called your systolic (sis-tol-ick) pressure, and it measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. Normal systolic pressure is less than 120. Pre-hypertension is 120-139, and hypertension is 140 and up.
The bottom number is your diastolic (die-a-stol-ick) pressure, and it measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest. Normal diastolic pressure is less than 80. Pre-hypertension is 80-89.
Hypertension is 90 and up.
If high blood pressure is left untreated it can damage your blood vessels, without you knowing or feeling it. The longer high blood pressure is untreated, the greater your risk of damage. Damaged blood vessels can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease. High blood pressure can be controlled, by making small changes in daily activities and habits, or with medical therapy.
Tips on how to lower high blood pressure:
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight (losing extra pounds is the best way to lower blood pressure)
- Be active every day
- Make dietary changes
- Cut back on salt (use spices, herbs, or lemon to flavor foods)
- Cut back on alcohol (it is high in calories and raises blood pressure)
- Take your blood pressure pills as prescribed by your healthcare provider
Any small changes you make will help lower your blood pressure.
Source: Security Health Plan.
The Heart Center at MidState provides patients with state-of-the-art emergency treatment advanced cardiac and neurological testing; and the expert care only an experienced cardiac team can provide. From initial diagnosis to inpatient critical care to rehabilitation, the Heart Center offers the personalized care each heart patient needs to achieve the best possible outcome.
Cardiac, Vascular, and Neurological Testing Department
The first step in determining the best course of treatment is, of course, an accurate evaluation of the patient's condition. The Cardiodiagnostic Department at MidState includes a state-of-the-art cardiac, and neurological testing suite. With highly specialized equipment and expertise, our Cardiac Team can perform a total of 15 tests to ensure the most efficient information before, during, and after treatment. The Cardiodiagnostic Department serves patients Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Click on the following links to view information on our testing procedures:
- Cardiac Tests
In this test, electrodes are placed on the patient's arms, legs and chest to record overall electrical activity of the heart.
24-Hour Holter Monitor
This non-invasive test provides longer-term information on the heart's activity. Electrodes are placed on the patient's chest and attached to a portable monitor, which records the heartbeat for a 24-hour period. Patients are required to keep a diary of their activities and symptoms during this time.
2-D Echocardiogram/Color Flow Doppler
When an image of the heart is required, this non-invasive test uses ultrasound to create real-time images for physician review.
Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)
This procedure also uses ultrasound to examine the heart. Unlike an echocardiogram, a TEE is done from inside the esophagus (the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach).
Standard Stress Test
The Stress Test measures the impact of exercise on the heart. As the patient walks on a treadmill, ECGs monitor heart functions and a blood pressure cuff measures blood pressure. Monitoring continues after exercising during resting phase.
Stress Echo Test
This test is similar to a Standard Stress Test, with additional information provided by ultrasound images of the heart, recorded both before and immediately after exercising.
Nuclear Stress Tests
This test measures impact of exercise on the heart using an isotope that is injected into the body. The imaging portion of the test is conducted in radiology, 1 to 2 hours after exercise has stopped. Another image is taken that day or the next, while at rest.
Adenosine/Nuclear Stress Test
This test is similar to the Nuclear Stress Test, but instead of exercising, the patient is injected with the medication, Adenosine. Imaging takes place 1 to 2 hours after the Adenosine has been administered. An image is also obtained prior to the test, for comparative purposes.
Dobutamine/Nuclear Stress Test
Similar in nature to the Adenosine/Nuclear Stress Test, this test uses a different medication, Dobutamine.
Dobutamine Stress Echo Test
This test uses the medication Dobutamine, as well as ultrasound waves, sto measure and evaluate the impact of stress on the heart. Dobutamine is introduced via intravenous, while ECG and blood pressure measurements, and echocardiogram images are taken.
- Neurological Tests
In this test, 21 electrodes are positioned on key locations of the patient's head. The electrodes measure the brain's electrical activity, which is recorded in a graphic printout for physician review.
This procedure is identical to an EEG, except that measurements are taken while the patient sleeps.
This is an electrical nerve and muscle test performed by a neurologist. The patient may experience some mild discomfort during the test.
Inpatient Critical Care
Our Critical Care unit is equipped with sophisticated cardiac monitoring capabilities and staffed by experienced professionals, who work with the patient's cardiologist to develop the best treatment plan. As patients improve, our Progressive Care Unit provides wireless monitoring, initial rehabilitation and education for long-term heart health.
- Balancing Patient Care and Family Support
The support a patient receives from his or her family can be a critical component in recovery. We understand the importance of being with your loved ones, which is why we make every effort to have open visiting hours. However, in the Critical Care Unit we limit visitors a from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., or from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. These are the hours that our team transitions care of your loved one between shifts.
- Choosing a Spokesperson
We recommend that each family choose a spokesperson to speak for the patient and the family, as well as receive information and reports from the doctors or nurses while visiting. The family spokesperson can then relay all information to other family members. Should we need reach the family spokesperson, please make sure that they leave a telephone number with one of our nurses.
- Learn more about MidState's Cardiac Rehabilitation program.
If you are recovering from a heart attack, coronary bypass surgery, angioplasty or other heart conditions, you can benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program. Research has shown that exercise improves cardiac patients' quality of life, both mentally and physically.
A monitored exercise program should begin four to six weeks after you leave the hospital. A registered nurse will watch what your heart is doing on a monitor and check your blood pressure while you exercise. You will come to our program and exercise three times per week. During this phase, which usually lasts for two or three months, you can also learn more about your heart disease risk factors and how to make lifestyle changes to prevent future cardiac events. The registered nurses at MidState will guide and support you during your rehabilitation. Your physician will be updated on your progress and direct your care.
If you would like to participate in MidState's Cardiac Rehabilitation program, please discuss it with your physician at your follow-up office visit. We look forward to working with you in promoting a heart healthy lifestyle.
Our sessions are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Class times are 7 a.m.8 a.m., 9 a.m.10 a.m., and 10:30 a.m.11:30 a.m.
If you have any questions, please call us at the MidState Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at 203 694 8541, or Email us.