ALTOONA - Every year, about 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 15 percent of them die. Quick diagnosis and treatment can keep a heart attack from being fatal.
Now, a hospital in our region is working on developing a chest pain center, accredited to assess, diagnose and treat patients for a heart attack.
UPMC Altoona's Cardiac Care Coordinator says every month, the hospital sees about 13 patients who've had a massive heart attack."They need immediate cardiac cath because it's full muscle, heart muscle tissue damage, so if you don't get help immediately, it can be a fatal heart attack for you," Downs says.
She points out that chest pain isn't the only symptom of a heart attack. Early signs can include nausea, pain that travels down one or both arms, fatigue, jaw, neck, or shoulder pain, and back pain.
If you or someone you know is having these signs,, don't wait more than five minutes to call 911.
UPMC Altoona hopes to have its chest pain clinic designation next year.