Heart attack

A heart attack can come with warning signs like chest and arm pain, or even nausea. It can also occur suddenly and without warning. Spectrum Health has heart experts to treat emergencies and assess concerning symptoms. In fact, we treat more acute heart attacks than anyone else in Michigan. Our first goal is to save your life. Our second goal is to minimize damage to your heart muscle as much as possible. 

A heart attack happens when blood flow is blocked to the heart. This is usually caused by a blood clot that forms within an area that has a buildup of plaque. Warning signs include chest discomfort, pain in the upper body and shortness of breath. Recognizing the symptoms and getting help quickly are key to your recovery. 

The earlier you treat the heart attack, the less damage there is. Spectrum Health is ranked among the top hospitals in the nation in speed to successfully treating heart attacks. We care for more acute heart attack patients than anyone else in the state of Michigan, and because we see so many patients, we are able to offer the latest technology and the most experience in the area.

Treatment options

You should treat any heart attack symptom as an emergency and go to the ER immediately. We have a special heart "triage" process that can assess you right away, any time you arrive with possible heart symptoms. 

Our heart team excels at restoring blood flow to your heart, fast. In fact, our average time from arrival to restoring blood flow is more than 40 minutes faster than the goal set by the American Heart Association. This speed and skill save your heart, and often your life. 

Depending on what your heart problem is, treatment may also include a procedure to place stents to keep the artery open. You may need bypass surgery or the help of devices to support your heart. Whatever you need, even if it is a heart transplant, we have the best surgeons, right here.

Bypass surgery
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This surgery creates a bypass graft using a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body or a synthetic tube to reroute blood flow.

Medication management
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Along with very important lifestyle changes, there are a variety of medicines used to help treat heart conditions. Medicines for heart disease are used to ease discomfort or lessen symptoms, but some can also be essential in preventing life-threatening episodes. It is important to take your medicines exactly as prescribed, and work with your doctor on both lifestyle and medicine changes.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (angioplasty / stent placement)
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An angioplasty is a less invasive procedure that opens a clogged artery with a small balloon. This can be done through the wrist (radial) or the groin (femoral) artery. Typically this procedure includes the placement of stents.