The Next Step in a Serious Heart Attack

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - After someone suffers a STEMI, the most serious type of heart attack, each second is crucial.

Last week, we saw what happens in the trauma room. Now, we'll see how a team of medical professionals handle the serious situation from there. 

The goal in the trauma room is to get the patient up to surgery. 

"They're not in here for a matter of minutes before they're upstairs," Dr. Joshua James, an emergency medicine physician, said.

"Once a patient arrives from the ER, time is muscle so we get him on on the cath lab and we move very quickly," Dr. Samir Patel, an interventional cardiologist, said.

Teamwork and preparedness make for a successful surgery. 

"The nurses, the cath lab techs, the physicians, the ER, everyone works in concert," Patel said.

After draping the patient, "it's critical and urgent to get that artery open," he said.

It's time to figure out exactly what's going on in his heart.

"We get access in the groin, the femoral artery, or the radial artery. Then we pass catheters up into the heart and take pictures by injecting dye," Patel said.

From there, they'll see where the artery is clogged and re-open it so normal blood flow can resume. 

Patients will spend about 48 hours in a cardiac intensive care unit and then return home.

The standard time for doctors to get that artery open is ninety minutes. These doctors say their goal is sixty minutes.

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