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Queens Chronicle

What causes a heart attack

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center offers comprehensive cardiac care

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Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 10:30 am

Every year, more than 1.2 million Americans die from a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction. This is the result of damage to, or a reduction in, the blood flow to the muscle of the heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of those deaths occur outside the hospital — a figure suggesting that many people with heart disease are not aware of the significance of the symptoms and they don’t act on early warning signs.

“Chest pain or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes is a primary heart attack symptom,” says Dr. Robert Mendelson, director of Cardiology at Jamaica Hospital. “Shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, lightheadedness and upper body discomfort are also red flags and an indication to immediately call 911. Just a few wasted minutes can stand between life and death.”

What causes a heart attack?

Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of a heart attack. This occurs when a substance known as plaque builds up in the coronary arteries causing them to narrow and limit the amount of blood that is able to flow normally.

There are several factors that can put you at risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, having high cholesterol, being overweight, smoking cigarettes, having diabetes, and being over 55-years-old for men and 65-years-old for women.

Despite having these risk factors, it is possible to protect yourself against the most serious heart health conditions. Dr. Mendelson encourages individuals to maintain a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, manage stress and quit smoking. In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, other ways to manage heart disease include medication and invasive procedures, such as pacemakers and stents.

Jamaica Hospital offers comprehensive cardiac care, including swift interventions for heart attack and services for heart disease such as arrhythmias, coronary heart disease and cardiomyopathies.

Our cardiac catherization laboratory performs diagnostic cardiac catheterizations to identify blockages in the arteries bringing blood to the heart. It also performs angioplasty and stent implantation to open the arteries that are found to be blocked. Blockages in the arteries in the legs are also diagnosed and treated with stents.

The noninvasive cardiology laboratory performs the following tests:

Electrocardiograms, which allow the electrical activity of the heart to be examined.

Echocardiograms, which use sound waves to take pictures of the heart to assess how it is working.

Stress tests, both chemical and exercise, with and without imaging, to assess the blood flow to the heart and the function of the heart with exercise.

Holter monitors

Event recorders

Tilt table testing

Nuclear wall motion studies

Signal-averaging electrocardiography

Pacemaker and automatic implantable defibrillator evaluation

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center also offers an arrhythmia service, which diagnoses and treats abnormal heart rhythms using invasive electrophysiologic testing. Medical treatment of coronary artery disease is available for patients who are not candidates for angioplasty, stenting, or coronary artery bypass surgery, but who have continued chest pain or angina.

To speak with a cardiologist about your heart health or to obtain more information about the cardiology services offered at Jamaica Hospital, call (718) 206-7100.

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