Emergency cardiac care in Kansas City

If you or a loved one have had a heart attack or were told you’re at risk, the right care at the right time can save your life and help prevent further damage.

Five of our Kansas City hospitals are accredited by the American College of Cardiology as an Accredited Chest Pain Center. This means our hospitals use cutting-edge technology and a proven team-based approach to provide efficient, effective and coordinated care for the best possible outcomes.

If you are currently experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 911.

Signs of a heart attack

A heart attack is a sign of severe heart disease. Symptoms can be mild or severe and can strike suddenly or build over time. The most common symptom in both men and women is chest pain, but not everyone who has a heart attack experiences it.

Chest pain can feel different and vary from person to person. Many people think they have indigestion or some other minor ailment.

Signs of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest pain (may be described as discomfort, pressure, ache, burning or fullness; it may also start or worsen with exercise or be relieved with rest or nitroglycerin)
  • Pain in the back, jaw, and other upper body areas (the pain might go away and come back)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up)
  • Anxiety or a sense of dread
  • A cough
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • A fast heart rate
  • Indigestion

It’s not uncommon for women to have no chest pain. Many women have more subtle symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the jaw or upper back
  • Light-headedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea

Lifesaving emergency heart care

A heart attack is an emergency, and treatment is time-sensitive. Your chance of survival dramatically increases if the blockage is cleared within 90 minutes. That’s why it's so important to recognize the signs of a heart attack and call 911 or head to the closest ER. Trying to self-diagnose can be dangerous and very costly.

HCA Midwest Health has 10 ERs and the largest Accredited Chest Pain Center network in the Kansas City area. That means you are never far from lifesaving emergency care. We routinely exceed the national quality goal of a door-to-balloon time in under 90 minutes. As a result, being treated at one of our chest pain centers increases your chance of surviving a heart attack by more than 35 percent.

Heart attack treatment

At HCA Midwest Health, we believe every patient deserves the best possible cardiac care at our hospitals and emergency rooms. We use proven chest pain management procedures and best practices to save time and ensure all our patients receive the quality and timely cardiac care they need.

Our network includes five Accredited Chest Pain Centers that offer emergency heart care 24/7. Our top cardiologists perform life-saving angioplasties in our state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs. An angioplasty is a catheter-based procedure where a tiny balloon is expanded to open narrowed or blocked arteries in your heart and improve blood flow.

Depending on your condition, other immediate treatments may include:

  • Clot-busting medicines—Also called thrombolytic medicines, clot busters dissolve a blood clot blocking an artery.
  • Bypass grafting—Commonly called a bypass, this type of heart surgery uses an artery or vein from another part of your body to go around the blockage.

Recovery and follow-up care

After emergency heart attack treatment is complete, you'll usually receive any necessary medications and undergo some tests to measure the extent of the damage. Your cardiologist may prescribe:

  • Anticlotting (antiplatelet) medicines to help keep blood from clotting in the artery
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) to help reduce blood pressure and the stress on the heart (especially if it is weaker from the heart attack)
  • Beta-blockers to help lower blood pressure and slow heart rate to assist in healing
  • Statins to help lower cholesterol and prevent plaque from forming

Our inpatient cardiac rehabilitation specialists will explain the procedures and provide education about lifestyle changes and medications. Depending on the severity of the heart attack, you'll usually be discharged within two days.

You'll also be referred to a cardiologist (if you don’t have one already) and outpatient cardiac rehabilitation for two to four weeks. During outpatient cardiac rehab, you'll learn about heart attack prevention, exercises and lifestyle skills.