Time is Critical in Protecting the Heart

Time is CriticalA heart attack is actually the end of a process that typically evolves over several hours. With each passing minute, more heart tissue is deprived of blood and deteriorates or dies. However, if blood flow is restored in time, damage to the heart can be limited and even prevented.

People often take a wait-and-see approach, delaying because they:

The American Heart Association says most people having a heart attack wait too long to seek medical help–and that can be a fatal mistake. Patient delay – rather than transport or hospital delay – is the biggest obstacle to getting prompt medical treatment.

Not all people who have heart attacks experience the same symptoms or experience them to the same degree. Some patients are more likely than others to delay. For instance, women often delay getting help, because in many cases their symptoms are less typical of most heart attacks. People with diabetes also face increased risks of delay because the disease often affects the nerves that would warn of a heart attack.

Most heart attack victims wait 2 hours or more before they seek medical help - the very time when treatment is most effective. This delay can result in death or permanent heart damage – damage that can greatly reduce the ability to do everyday activities.

For more information on Heart Attacks:
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute