Heart attack care in Aurora

Every year, over 700,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack. In addition, over 300,000 Americans have a recurrent heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease—including coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke—is the number one cause of death in the U.S.

Led by our experienced cardiothoracic surgeons, The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA) provides personalized, high-quality heart care for a wide array of heart conditions, including emergency treatment for heart attack patients.

Signs of heart attack

If you or someone you know is experiencing a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to drive yourself or the other person to the hospital.

Early signs and symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain, pressure, squeezing or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Pain in one or both arms, jaw or back
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of fullness

While the most common heart attack symptom is chest pain, women may be more likely to experience some of the other symptoms, like nausea or vomiting, fatigue, dizziness or shortness of breath. Many women may have these heart attack symptoms without chest pain.

With the early signs of a heart attack, symptoms may come and go. These “beginnings” of a heart attack occur in over 50 percent of patients. The first two hours of a heart attack is where 85 percent of heart damage happens. If signs are recognized early, symptoms can be treated before damage occurs.

Diagnosing coronary artery disease

The sooner heart disease is recognized and treated, the less likely a heart attack will occur. In addition to identifying a person’s risk factors for cardiovascular disease, there are heart tests used to diagnose certain heart conditions and heart-related health issues.

Performed in the cath lab at the TMCA, a cardiac catheterization can identify diseases of the heart muscle, valves or coronary arteries. Measuring the pressure and blood flow in the heart, this outpatient procedure can also identify a blockage in one of the coronaries.