Question: What are the first things doctors do for patients who come in with a heart attack?
Answer: Well, most patients with suspected heart attack will come to emergency departments, and there are two different ways that patients arrive.
They will either come by ambulance, which is the way we prefer for them to come in. That's about one-third to maybe forty, forty-five percent of patients. The rest walk in.
In either case, we want to make a very quick evaluation at the front part of the emergency department. We call this triage. And usually there's a nurse who will initially see the patient.
As soon as the nurse suspects there might be a heart attack, we usually will try very hard to get a heart tracing or an EKG or an electrocardiogram very quickly. This is a test that looks at the electrical activity of the heart and it's one of the most important tests that we have to determine whether there might be a heart attack taking place.