What is a heart attack?
A heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction (AMI), can occur if the arteries supplying blood to the heart become blocked, and the blood supply is slowed or stopped. The heart can’t get the oxygen and nutrients it needs. The affected heart tissue may die.
Symptoms of a heart attack
Symptoms of a heart attack can include chest pain (crushing, squeezing or burning pain in the center of the chest which may radiate to the arm or jaw), shortness of breath, dizziness, faintness, chills, sweating or nausea. Skin may feel cold or clammy, and patients may appear gray and look ill. Sometimes there are no symptoms.
What do the measures mean and why are they important?
The scores show how well NJ hospitals are providing care for eligible heart patients. Patients with contraindications, those at higher risk of experiencing complications, to any of the recommended treatments are excluded from the scores for that treatment. Higher percentages indicate better performance. The goal is to reach 100%.
Aspirin at Arrival
- THIS SCORE TELLS YOU the percent of heart attack patients who received aspirin within 24 hours before or after hospital arrival.
- THIS INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT because taking aspirin as soon as symptoms of a heart attack begin may reduce the severity of the attack. Aspirin can help prevent or dissolve existing blood clots. Continued use of aspirin may help reduce the risk of another heart attack.
Aspirin at Discharge
- THIS SCORE TELLS YOU the percent of heart attack patients prescribed aspirin at discharge from the hospital.
- THIS INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT because aspirin can help prevent or dissolve existing blood clots. Continued use of aspirin may help reduce the risk of another heart attack.
Beta Blocker at Discharge
- THIS SCORE TELLS YOU the percent of heart attack patients prescribed a beta blocker at discharge from the hospital.
- THIS INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT because beta blockers are medicines that lower blood pressure, treat chest pain (angina) and heart failure, and help prevent heart attacks. Beta blockers relieve the stress on the heart by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force with which the heart contracts to pump blood. They also help keep blood vessels throughout the body from constricting.
ACE Inhibitor or ARB at Discharge
- THIS SCORE TELLS YOU the percent of heart attack patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) who were prescribed an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) at discharge from the hospital.
- THIS INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT because ACE inhibitors and ARBs are medicines that can help reduce the risk of death after a heart attack. Continued use may help prevent heart failure. ACE inhibitors and ARBs modify the effects of hormones (angiotensin II) that regulate blood pressure and influence the healing process of the heart. They are prescribed to lower blood pressure and thus lessen the workload of the heart.
Smoking Cessation Advice
- THIS SCORE TELLS YOU the percent of heart attack patients with a history of smoking cigarettes who received advice before discharge from the hospital on how to quit smoking.
- THIS INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT because smoking is linked to heart attacks. Quitting may help prevent another one.
PCI within 90 Minutes
- THIS SCORE TELLS YOU the percent of heart attack patients who underwent angioplasty, or a Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), within 90 Minutes after arrival at a hospital.
- THIS INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT because PCI is a procedure to open the blocked blood vessels, re-establishing the blood supply to the heart muscle. It involves inserting a catheter (a flexible tube) usually through the leg. Increasingly, cardiologists choose to do a PCI instead of prescribing clot-dissolving medication. The earlier PCI is provided, the more effective it is. However, PCI is not available at every general hospital in New Jersey.
To find out if a New Jersey
hospital is licensed to perform
PCI, ask your doctor.
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