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Heart attack

A heart attack is an emergency medical condition that occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked or stopped by a buildup of plaque, excess fat and cholesterol. This can be fatal, so you should always seek emergency medical care if you think you are experiencing a heart attack.

Heart attack care in Virginia

Our cardiac specialists provide the fast action you need during a heart attack.

The longer a heart attack goes untreated, the more likely it can lead to serious damage. But it doesn't have to. The hospitals in the HCA Virginia Health System include Accredited Chest Pain Centers, meeting or exceeding national standards for heart attack care.

How healthy is your heart?

Understanding your heart health is a valuable preventive care tool. Take our free assessment to determine your risk of heart disease and what you can do about it.

Understanding your heart health is a valuable preventive care tool. Take our free assessment to determine your risk of heart disease and what you can do about it.

Heart attack symptoms

Recognizing the signs of a heart attack could save your life or the life of someone else. Seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you love experiences any of the following symptoms:

  • Arm (especially left arm) pain
  • Back, neck or jaw pain
  • Cold sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Long-lasting chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Recurring chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Heart attack services we provide

Heart attacks occur when cholesterol, fat and other substances form plaque, which clogs the arteries and disrupts blood flow to the heart. This clot causes cardiac tissue to lose oxygen and die, which is why you need to act fast. We offer a range of services designed to help you combat heart attacks, both during an episode and afterwards.

Treating a heart attack

Our hospitals are specially staffed and equipped to treat heart attacks quickly and effectively. To do this, we use:

  • Cardiac catheterization (cath) laboratories — Our cardiac cath labs are staffed 24/7 with specialists highly trained in opening blocked arteries faster than the American Heart Association's standard of 90 minutes.
  • Critical and intensive care — You may recover in our intensive care units (ICUs) and cardiac care units with constant monitoring and supervision.
  • ER and EMS partnerships — Our emergency teams work closely with local medical providers to streamline heart attack care. This allows us to begin your heart attack treatment in the ambulance, while also proactively assembling a cardiac team that can begin treatment immediately upon your arrival at one of our hospitals.
  • On-site rehabilitation services — Our physical therapy and rehabilitation programs help rebuild strength in the heart and body after a heart attack, especially if this event required heart surgery.

Recovering from a heart attack

If you have experienced a heart attack, we offer cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) services led by a multidisciplinary team of nurses, exercise physiologists and dietitians. Together, they help our cardiac rehab programs excel by offering comprehensive education, risk identification, lifestyle modification and exercise therapy services. This approach allows you to successfully recover from your heart attack, while also managing related issues, including heart failure or heart disease.

How to tell the difference between heartburn and a heart attack

Knowing what is a heart attack and what is not can be difficult. But we are here to give you the tools so you know how to properly self-examine and get help when you need it.

Looking for another location?

We also offer quality care at these other locations in our extended network.
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