Heart Attack Care

Helping hearts heal

24/7 Emergency Heart Attack Treatment

Every minute matters when you’re having a heart attack. That’s why Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Plymouth developed our Primary Angioplasty Program. The program is designed to quickly restore blood flow to your heart. Our goal is to limit heart damage so you can live your life fully.

What Does it Feel Like to Have a Heart Attack?

Know the Symptoms

Getting help quickly for a heart attack begins with knowing the symptoms. Different people may experience different symptoms. These may include:

  • Chest pain, discomfort or heaviness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw or shoulders
  • Rapid, irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual sweating

Sometimes symptoms are different for women than men. Although chest pain is common for both, women are more likely to have:

  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shoulder, back or arm pain
  • Unusual tiredness and weakness
  • Upset stomach

If you think someone may be having a heart attack, it’s important to call 911 right away. Getting to the emergency department as quickly as possible may be lifesaving.

Heart Attack Diagnosis and Treatment

When you arrive at the hospital, we will evaluate your condition. If tests show that you’re having a heart attack, we’ll work with our Heart & Vascular specialists. They’re available to provide angioplasty treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Primary Angioplasty Program

The Primary Angioplasty Program aims to quickly restore blood flow to your heart.

What is angioplasty?
Angioplasty is a groundbreaking treatment that may help you have the best long-term prognosis after a heart attack. The procedure opens the blocked blood vessel in your heart. It involves inflating a tiny balloon in the vessel. As the balloon inflates, it pushes plaque that’s causing the blockage against your vessel walls. This process helps restore blood flow.
What happens during the procedure?

Angioplasty requires cardiac catheterization. A cardiologist inserts a thin tube called a cather into an artery in your arm or leg. You’re awake, but medicine helps you relax. The doctor then threads the catheter to your heart.

While watching a special X-ray screen, the doctor passes a thin wire through the catheter to blocked area. Next, they pass another catheter with a balloon on its tip over the wire. When they inflate the balloon, the blocked artery opens up. In many cases, the doctor places a stent (a metal mesh tube) into the artery to help keep it open.

Is angioplasty painful?

Angioplasty causes little discomfort. The cardiologist numbs the area on your arm or leg where the catheter is inserted. The area may be only slightly sore after the treatment.

Are there any risks?

Angioplasty is a safe procedure. Although serious complications are possible, they’re rare. They may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke
What happens after treatment?

Patients usually stay in the hospital for one or more days after treatment. For a short time, you may have to avoid heavy lifting and vigorous activity. If you received a stent, your doctor may prescribe medicine to prevent clots from forming on it.

Cardiac Rehabilitation is likely to be part of your post-heart attack care. It can help strengthen your heart. It also will help you learn to make lifestyle changes to keep your heart healthy.

Alert Notice

Act Fast, Call 911

Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you have a life-threatening illness or injury. 

Services & Specialties

A heart attack is a medical emergency that occurs when blood is blocked from reaching part of your heart. From the first signs of a heart attack through your recovery, we’re here to help.