Top Five Things to Know about STEMI

Do you know what STEMI is? If not, we can help explain this dangerous cardiac condition. Here are 5 things you should know about STEMI:

1. STEMI is a serious type of heart attack.  It stands for ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.  You will not be able to tell whether or not your heart attack is STEMI because the symptoms may or may not include:

  • Pain, tightness or discomfort in the chest, arm, jaw, abdomen or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Excessive sweating

If you believe that you are having or witnessing a heart attack, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.  STEMI can damage your heart significantly. If STEMI is treated quickly and effectively there is a greater chance of survival and improved quality of life. Also, an EMS team can begin a number of critical, life-saving techniques en route to the hospital.

2. It is important to know that what leads to a mild heart attack can also lead to STEMI.  An unhealthy diet not only results in weight gain but also causes buildup of fatty acid deposits in the arteries that supply oxygen –rich blood to your heart. These deposits harden into a substance called plaque.  When the plaque ruptures it forms a blood clot which blocks the blood flow to the heart.

3. STEMI is diagnosed with an electrocardiogram (ECG).  If you arrive at the hospital with heart attack symptoms, an ECG will be performed to determine if STEMI has occurred. In addition, a STEMI will release certain chemicals markers into the blood stream.  Blood tests are performed to detect the presence of these markers.

4. STEMI is treated with percutaneous cardiac interventions or PCI.  Percutaneous means “through the skin.” Rather than open heart surgery, doctors will go through the skin to treat the damaged arteries.  Most commonly, balloon angioplasty is performed to expand the artery to allow for increased blood flow.  Depending upon the extent of the damage, a stent may be inserted to keep the artery open.

5. Brandon Regional Hospital consistently beats the national benchmark for STEMI treatment. The Heart & Vascular Center at Brandon Regional holds a number of distinctions, including certification as an Accredited Chest Pain Center for PCI. In fact, our Center has been recognized by the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospitals for specialty care in Acute Myocardial Infarction, Heart Failure, and Coronary Artery Bypass. The Heart & Vascular Center has also received the highest possible rating for quality from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.  For questions about the Heart & Vascular Center at Brandon Regional, visit us online.  To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, call 888-327-2636.

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