STEMI Receiving Center Offers Unique Expertise for Patients - PIH Health

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Published on February 06, 2017

STEMI Receiving Center Offers Unique Expertise for Patients

Gustavo Lopez

Gustavo LopezIt was a hot summer day when 65-year-old retiree, Gustavo Lopez was mowing the lawn at his home in Bell Gardens. Gustavo has always been healthy and active, so when he started feeling pain and tightness in his chest, he brushed it off as overexertion. He took a break from his yard work, went inside to get some water and waited a few minutes for the pain to pass. When the symptoms increased, Gustavo began sweating and experiencing nausea. His daughter Radai realized he needed help so she drove him to PIH Health Downey Hospital, where the expert emergency team performed an electrocardiogram (EKG), and confirmed an acute heart attack. With no time to waste, Gustavo was rushed by ambulance to PIH Health Whittier Hospital, one of a select group of hospitals designated as a STEMI (ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction, or a particular pattern on an EKG) Receiving Center for Los Angeles County. Having around-the-clock cardiac experts on hand, STEMI Receiving Centers provide rapid and advanced care for people experiencing heart attacks. “Our EKG confirmed 100 percent blockage in one of Gustavo’s arteries, which caused the heart attack,” said Paresh Patel MD, a PIH Health Cardiologist working at the hospital that day. “We rushed him into the cardiac catheterization lab, where we performed percutaneous coronary intervention (a non-surgical procedure that uses a thin, flexible tube to place a small structure called a stent to open up blood vessels). This procedure reestablished Gustavo’s circulation.” This life-saving procedure essentially stops a heart attack in its tracks.

“This patient’s quick access to cardiac experts, and the technology available in our specialized facility enabled our team to act quickly, which salvages more heart muscle, minimizes the hospital stay and may prevent future congestive heart failure,” added Dr. Patel. “We were able to exceed the American Heart Association’s 90-minute standard for opening a blockage.” Gustavo was released from the hospital three days later and is back to feeling well and enjoying life. “I’m extremely impressed by the STEMI Receiving Center and very grateful for PIH Health Whittier Hospital, which provided an expert team and excellent service,” said Gustavo. “I’m so fortunate.” A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Common symptoms of a heart attack may include chest pain or pressure in the chest (or the back, neck, jaw or shoulders), sweating, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, lightheadedness or sudden weakness, and a fast, irregular heartbeat.

If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911—wait for an ambulance and don’t try to drive yourself. PIH Health is specially trained and equipped to provide state-of-the-art heart care and treatment to prevent further damage and complications. To learn more about heart care and treatment options at PIH Health, call 562.698.0811 Ext. 11240 to make an appointment.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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