What is a STEMI?
A STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction) is a deadly type of heart attack, which is identified on an EKG. Early treatment to the blocked coronary artery minimizes the extent of the heart muscle damage and preserves the pumping function of the heart, thereby, increasing survival and reducing or eliminating complications.
STEMI Time Calculation
Average STEMI times are approximate and are provided for informational purposes only. STEMI Times represent an average of our hospital’s STEMI cases over the past 52 weeks for which data is available, and is defined as the time it took to reestablish blood flow from the time the patient arrived at the hospital’s Emergency Room. The American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the Joint Commission have established that this should occur in 90 minutes or less.
Read more about our Emergency Department.
What are the symptoms of STEMI?
Symptoms of STEMI are the same as those for other types of heart attack: shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, weakness, clammy or cool skin, or abnormal heart beat. If you believe that you or someone else may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
How do doctors tell the difference between STEMI and non-STEMI heart attacks?
As soon as medical staff suspects a heart attack, they will administer an EKG. The majority of heart attack patients have their heart attack outside the hospital, so the EMS will conduct the EKG immediately. The EKG results will show whether the patient is having a heart attack. If so, the patient needs to be transported to a hospital that is equipped with a cardiac catheterization lab.
How is STEMI treated?
STEMI are treated with a specific set of techniques called percutaneous cardiac interventions (PCI). These procedures can only be done in a cardiac catheterization lab. The most common PCI is balloon angioplasty, where a catheter with a balloon at the tip is inserted into the groin and threaded to the heart. Once the catheter is placed next to the clot, the balloon is inflated, dislodging the clot and any adjacent plaque or blockage in the artery. Often a stent is placed in the artery, to hold it open as it heals.
How do I know which hospitals are equipped to treat STEMI?
Do a little research on your local hospitals. For instance, Lawnwood is the only hospital in Ft. Pierce that has a cardiac catheterization lab. Meanwhile, it’s important to assess the quality of the hospital. National guidelines state that STEMI patients D2B (Door to Balloon) time should be 90 minutes or less. That means that patients should undergo appropriate cardiac interventions within 90 minutes of arrival at the hospital. Lawnwood advertises our average STEMI time on our home page, so that patients can feel confident that we consistently surpass these national standards.
Do patients recover from STEMI?
If STEMI is diagnosed and treated in time, patients can go back to leading normal lives, without any disability. Recovery is a gradual process. Generally the cardiologist will prescribe a cardiac rehabilitation process. During rehabilitation, patients slowly increase their level of physical exertion. They also learn about how to keep their hearts healthy in the future and manage health conditions that may contribute to blood clots and other cardiac risk factors.
If you have questions about heart attack or cardiac health, or for referrals to cardiologists in the Treasure Coast area, call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-800-382-3522.