Take the car out of Cardiac
Don't drive - Call 911
Seventy-five to 80 percent of patients experiencing chest pain symptoms drive themselves, or are driven, to the emergency room rather than calling 9-1-1. Why?
Please call 911 instead, because:
- I can drive myself.
- Someone else can drive me to the hospital.
- The lights and sirens are embarrassing.
- If you drive yourself, you might pass out along the way. Then you could harm yourself and others.
- Emergency service staff can start medical care immediately at your home or in the ambulance.
- Don’t be embarrassed to death. It is more important that you receive the medical care you need right away.
It’s a proven fact** that patients with chest pain symptoms who call an ambulance have quicker, more appropriate treatment and better survival rates. You could also need percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also called balloon treatment. This treatment opens the coronary vessel to dissolve blood clots in patients with heart attacks. If you need PCI, you need to be transported to a hospital that can provide it.
*Tips to help you be prepared:
*From the American College of Emergency Physicians
- Keep a list of emergency phone numbers by the phone. Include numbers for: police, fire, poison control, local hospital, ambulance service, and your family physician.
- Keep and maintain a well-stocked first-aid kit at home, at work and in your vehicle. This will help you handle medical situations. American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) offers information about what should be included in first-aid kits at www.acep.org.
- Keep a list of all your medications in your wallet or in your phone app, including drug names, strength, dosage form and regimen. Also list all allergies, especially to medications.
- Keep a list of emergency contacts such as family members.
- Wear your medical alert bracelet or necklace.
- Take a first-aid class. This will not only help you stay calm and focused, but will also help you to help yourself and those around you in the event of an emergency.
The first key to remember is knowing the warning signs of a heart attack:
For men and women:
Specific to Women:
- Chest discomfort - uncomfortable pressure, tightness, fullness or pain in the center of the chest.
- Discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or upper back.
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- Unusual fatigue, weakness.
- Unusual fatigue, anxiety or weakness — unexplained or on exertion.
- Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Chest discomfort.
Remember, calling 9-1-1 when you think you need it, but don't, is better than not receiving life-saving treatment. And it can be hard to recognize a heart attack, so it is important that a health professional evaluate you to be certain.
**European Society of Cardiology (ESC) (2012, October 20). Calling an ambulance improves heart attack survival. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from Sciencedaily.com article
Content from the National Institute of Health and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.