When Is It Necessary To Do An Actual Cardiac Catheterization During The Diagnosis Of A Heart Attack?

Dr. Nissen answers the question: 'When Do I Do A Cardiac Catheterization?'

— -- Question: When is it necessary to do an actual cardiac catheterization during the diagnosis of a heart attack?

Answer: There's an initiative underway by the American College of Cardiology called "The Door to Balloon Initiative." And this is an initiative designed to get the majority of patients in America into the heart catheterization laboratory as quickly as possible after a heart attack.

Why? The reason is, that if you open that blocked coronary in the middle of a heart attack, you stop the damage right then and there, and you get improved outcomes. That means a better heart muscle, less heart failure, and you're more likely to be alive.

So if you're having a heart attack, you really want to be in the heart catheterization laboratory as quickly as possible. The problem is, not every American lives as close as they need to to a hospital that offers that service, and we're working on programs to design, to make that more available to more Americans.

Next: What Is A Cardiac Catheterization, What Does It Show My Doctor, And What Are The Dangers?

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