Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: Why You Should Call EMS if you are Suffering from Heart Symptoms

If you or are loved one are suffering from heart issues, or think you might be experiencing a heart attack, it’s important to call 911 immediately, and not try to drive yourself to the emergency room.

“If you are having chest pain, it’s better to error on the side of caution and call 911 in addition to taking a full aspirin,” noted Dr. Benjamin Mathew, an interventional cardiologist at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Dr. Mathew says driving yourself to the hospital is never a good idea – for numerous reasons.

“It’s dangerous. If you are having chest pain, you could pass out and have an accident. It is also dangerous because many times, with patients having chest pain, not only is the heart affected but also the electrical system of the heart is affected. If that’s the case, life-saving mechanisms to re-start the heart, such as being shocked to re-start the heart, are not available in your average car,” noted Dr. Mathew.

In addition, emergency medical service providers, or EMS, can alert the hospital to your approval, so treatment can begin more quickly.

“If they need to go directly to the cath lab, the hospital can be alerted and the interventional cardiologist can be alerted so we are ready to go to take care of a patient immediately,” said Dr. Mathew.

In the end, the faster the care, the better the potential outcome for patients.

“Time is heart muscle, so the less time we wait, the more heart muscle is preserved in a heart attack.”

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA.

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