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Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, call your emergency response number. Every minute matters! It’s best to call EMS to get to the emergency room right away.

Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.



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If you call , treatment will start in the ambulance with aspirin and other medicines.

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In the hospital, the doctor will work right away to return blood flow to your heart. You may get medicines to break up and prevent blood clots. You may get nitroglycerin and other medicines that make your arteries wider. This helps improve blood flow and relieve symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure. You also may get pain medicine and oxygen.

Your test results will help your doctor decide about more treatment. You might have angioplasty or bypass surgery to improve blood flow to your heart.

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During angioplasty, doctors inflate a small balloon to open the artery. A stent, a wire mesh tube, may be permanently placed in the artery to keep it open. For hospitals not equipped to do angioplasty quickly, drugs may be used to dissolve blood clots, but more hospitals are making the procedure available in a timely manner, Bolger said.

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After you get out of the hospital, you will continue to take medicines that lower your risk of a heart attack. Medicine may include beta-blockers, aspirin or other medicines to prevent blood clots, blood pressure medicine, and cholesterol

If your doctor has not set you up with a cardiac rehab program, talk to him or her about whether that is right for you. In cardiac rehab, you will get education and support that help you make new, healthy habits, such as eating healthy food and getting more exercise.

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