In 2016, we earned the Platinum Performance Achievement Award for exceptional heart attack care from the American College of Cardiology’s ACTION Registry®-Get With The Guidelines™.
Heart attack care at UVA includes:
- 24/7 on-site care to help ensure you receive care as quickly as possible
- Physicians who open blocked arteries 13 minutes faster than the national average time*
- A 50 percent lower mortality rate than the national average*
- 28 beds for cardiovascular emergencies
- Five specialized procedure rooms for heart attack patients
- Surgical staff and five operating rooms in case you need open-heart surgery
- A Chest Pain Center for rapid heart attack assessment and treatment that also conducts research on innovative techniques for evaluating and diagnosing acute, emergent chest pain
At UVA, we also provide our heart attack patients with education and follow-up care through our Heart Attack Recovery Clinic. We can help with diet, lifestyle changes and readjusting to normal life outside of the hospital.
*Source: American College of Cardiology National Cardiovascular Data Registry Percutaneous Coronary Intervention/Catheterization Registry (ACC NCDR PCI/Cath Registry) April 2015 - March 2016
Diagnosis & Treatment at UVA
At UVA, we can diagnose you by using these tests:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Stress test
- Nuclear scanning
- Electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT)
- Coronary angiography
Within the first six hours after a heart attack, we may give you medication to break up blood clots in the coronary arteries. If you have severe blockages, you may need immediate surgery, such as:
- Balloon angioplasty, with or without stenting
- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)
What Causes a Heart Attack?
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is interrupted. Oxygen can't get to the heart muscle, which causes tissue damage or tissue death.
A heart attack may be caused by:
- Thickening of coronary arteries
- Accumulation of fatty plaques in the coronary arteries
- Narrowing of the coronary arteries
- Spasm of the coronary arteries
- Development of a blood clot in the coronary arteries
- Embolism that affects the coronary arteries
A STEMI heart attack is a type of heart attack where the coronary artery is completely blocked by a clot.
Your doctor can diagnose a STEMI heart attack through a particular pattern that appears on an electrocardiogram (EKG).
Heart Attack Symptoms
Severity of heart attack symptoms may vary and can easily be interpreted as something else. A quick diagnosis and treatment is essential to your survival. You may be having a heart attack if you experience:
- Squeezing, heavy chest pain behind breastbone, especially with:
- Exercise or exertion
- Emotional stress
- Cold weather
- A large meal
- Pain or numbness in the left shoulder, left arm or jaw
- Shortness of breath
- Sweaty or clammy skin
- Loss of consciousness
- Anxiety, especially feeling a sense of doom or panic without apparent reason
If you experience signs of a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.