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When a person feels a sharp, stabbing pain in their left shoulder, there’s a very good chance that they’re suffering a heart attack, which is essentially an arterial blockage somewhere in the body stopping the flow of blood to the muscles of the heart.
In order to save heart attack patients, cardiologists must first locate the blockage, thread a catheter to its location and inflate a miniscule balloon to dislodge it. Once this is completed, a tiny wire cage known as a stent will be inserted to help keep the artery open.
As you might imagine, time is of the essence when performing this procedure, as the more time that passes, the more cardiac cells will die.
In recognition of this need to move quickly, both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology began pushing for a new national standard of completing this procedure within 90 minutes of a patient’s arrival at the hospital, a considerably shorter period than the roughly 120 minutes that cardiologists were averaging.
Interestingly, recently released data from the American College of Cardiology shows that almost all U.S. hospitals — not just elite medical facilities — are now getting the procedure done in 61 minutes or less.
This achievement becomes all the more astounding when you consider that the actual procedure of clearing heart attack patients’ blocked arteries hasn’t undergone any recent changes thanks to new technological developments or scientific discoveries.
Instead, the change has been fueled by what experts are calling common-sense steps, including transmitting electrocardiogram readings from ambulances to emergency rooms ahead of the patient’s arrival and summoning all surgical team members with a single page.
As encouraging as this is, it’s important for people to understand that medical missteps can and still do occur — especially in the hectic setting of the emergency room. That’s why it’s so important to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you suspect that any sort of cardiology malpractice has occurred.
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