Each year more than 800,000 Americans have a heart attack, which translates into one heart attack every 40 seconds. Experiencing a heart attack can be an unexpected and life-altering event, but many times they remain undiagnosed. The American Heart Association estimates that about 20 percent of heart attacks are silent, meaning damage has been done to a person’s heart that goes unnoticed.

Maintaining a healthy heart is crucial for overall well-being and longevity and can quite literally make the difference between life and death. Health officials stress that understanding risk factors and taking preventive measures are essential to minimizing the risk of a heart attack and paving the way for a healthier future.

Heart attacks, or myocardial infarctions, occur when blood flow to a part of the heart becomes blocked. Heart attacks often result from the buildup of cholesterol and other substances which form plaque in the coronary arteries. This buildup leads to the development of clots that block blood flow to the heart muscle. Risk factors include age, family history, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and physical inactivity. Preventive measures include adopting a healthy lifestyle, smoking cessation, regular check-ups and stress management.

In the case of a heart attack, the Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) Emergency Department (ED) and the nationally recognized Heart and Vascular Institute of Eastern Kentucky at PMC work together to make the patient experience as seamless and manageable as possible. In recent years, PMC has installed 3 state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization (cath) labs, which has led to more advanced and comprehensive care for heart attack patients. When it comes to a heart attack, time is a vital factor. Strategically placed near the ED, the location of the cath labs lowers the time it takes for patients to access the life-saving care they need.

The Heart and Vascular Institute of Eastern Kentucky at PMC offers the expertise of highly trained and experienced Interventional Cardiologists who offer several types of heart attack treatments including angioplasty, stent implantation, various kinds of atherectomy and valvuloplasty.

Pikeville Medical Center is part of a small percentage of hospitals in the United States that can provide percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for heart attack treatment. The medical center has been awarded Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation with PCI by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for several consecutive years. The accreditation is based on a rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who come to the cardiac cath lab.

In addition, PMC has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center Bronze recognition for its commitment to offering rapid, research-based care to people experiencing heart attacks known to be more severe and dangerous than other types of heart attacks.

To learn more about services offered at the Heart and Vascular Institute of Eastern Kentucky at PMC, visit https://www.pikevillehospital.org/services/heart-and-vascular-institute/