SSM Health Medical Minute: Only 59 percent call 911 during heart attack

When someone is having a heart attack, the first thing people should do is call 911. While the majority do, new data from the American Heart Association finds 59 percent of patients overall are transported by ambulance. Far too many are driven by friends or family and in a situation where every second counts, it’s a mistake that can mean the difference in a person surviving a heart attack.

Dr. Anish Thomas, SSM Health Interventional Cardiologist, explains that while it may seem obvious to call 911, the reasons why are critical. EMS offer immediate, life-saving support on an ambulance, but in addition, the EMS’s will call ahead to the receiving hospital to prepare cardiac staff and cardiac care rooms for the patient. These time-saving services are critical to the outcomes for a patient suffering a heart attack.

The reasons why some don’t call 911 are not tracked, although it is estimated that cost of an ambulance and lack of understanding of the severity of heart attack symptoms may be factors.

To find out more about SSM Health’s Heart & Vascular Team and advice, click here.