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What to expect at the hospital
You've been having chest pain, discomfort, or other signs of heart attack, so you called 911. Now what?
The emergency medical technicians can begin diagnosis and treatment right away if needed. Once at the hospital, doctors will do tests to see if you've had a heart attack and what kind of damage you may have:
- Blood tests — Doctors can use blood tests to see if you've had a heart attack. The tests measure substances that are released into the blood when heart cells die. The amount released into your blood also tells how much damage was done to your heart. These tests may be repeated over time to check for changes.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) — An EKG or ECG measures the rate and regularity of your heartbeat.
- Imaging tests — Several types of tests can help doctors "see" the heart and look for problems, such as heart damage, blockages, problems with blood flow, and problems with the heart's pumping action.
lf you've had or are having a heart attack, the blood flow to your heart needs to be restored. The doctors may use clot-busting drugs or emergency procedures to open up or bypass blocked or narrowed arteries. Once your condition is stable, your doctor will talk to you about next steps. This might involve more testing, surgery, taking medicines, and lifestyle changes
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Content last updated: February 01, 2009.
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