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About Us > Quality of Care > Disease Specific Measures > Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Measures (Heart Attack)

Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Measures (Heart Attack)

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  • Recognition as Chest Pain Center by the Chest Pain Society

Acute Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

A heart attack (also called AMI or acute myocardial infarction) happens when the coronary arteries leading to the heart become blocked and the blood supply is slowed or stopped. Blood flow is usually blocked when plaque inside a coronary artery breaks open, and a blood clot forms around it. When the heart muscle can’t get the oxygen and nutrients it needs, the part of the heart tissue that is affected may die.
The symptoms of a heart attack can include:
  • Chest pain (often described as a crushing, squeezing or burning pain in the center of the chest and may radiate to your arm or jaw)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • A gray or very ill appearance.
Sometimes there may be no symptoms, especially if you have diabetes. Women sometimes have different symptoms, such as a different kind of chest pain and/or abdominal pain.

Heart Attack Quality Measures

Experts agree on six standards of care for most adults who have had a heart attack. A team of experts in the treatment of heart attack meets regularly to improve the care we provide to our patients. The following graph shows our results from January to December 2010 for comparative hospital and PinnacleHealth data and July through December 2011 for PinnacleHealth measures.

â–ºView Data: Acute Myocardial Infarction Measures

Why is this important?

  • The heart is a muscle that gets oxygen through blood vessels. Sometimes blood clots can block these blood vessels, and the heart can’t get enough oxygen. This can cause a heart attack. Chewing an aspirin as soon as symptoms of a heart attack begin may help reduce the severity of the attack.

  • Following a heart attack, continued use of aspirin may help reduce the risk of another heart attack. Aspirin can have side effects like stomach inflammation, bleeding, or allergic reactions. Talk to your health care provider before using aspirin on a regular basis to make sure it’s safe for you.

  • ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) are medicines used to treat patients with decreased function of the left side of the heart. Early treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs in patients who have decreased heart function after a heart attack can also reduce their risk of death from future heart attacks. ACE inhibitors and ARBs work by reducing the work the heart has to perform. Your doctor will decide which drug is most appropriate for you. If you have a heart attack and/or heart failure, you should get a prescription for ACE inhibitors or ARBs if you have decreased heart function before you leave the hospital.

  • Smoking increases your risk for developing blood clots and heart disease that can result in a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Smoking causes your arteries to thicken and your blood vessels to narrow. Fat and plaque stick to the walls of your arteries, which makes it harder for blood to flow. Reduced blood flow to your heart may result in chest pain, high blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. Smoking is also linked to lung disease and cancer, and can cause premature death. It is important that you get information to help you quit smoking before you leave the hospital. Quitting may help prevent another heart attack.

  • Beta blockers are a type of medicine that is used to lower blood pressure, treat chest pain (angina) and heart failure, and to help prevent a heart attack. Beta blockers relieve the stress on your heart by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force with which your heart muscles contract to pump blood. They also help keep blood vessels from constricting in your heart, brain, and body. If you have a heart attack, you should get a prescription for a beta blocker before you leave the hospital. 

  • Improving blood flow to your heart as quickly as possible lessens the damage to your heart muscle. It also can increase your chances of surviving a heart attack. Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCI) are procedures that open blocked blood vessels and help prevent further heart muscle damage. Evidence shows that doing this within 90 minutes of arrival to the hospital decreases your risk of death after a heart attack.