This distinction means that Sinai complies with state standards so that emergency medical services (EMS) workers can bring patients experiencing the most common type of heart attack, called a STEMI, here. Ambulances bypass hospitals that are not a cardiac interventional center.
It is widely recognized that the sooner a patient is treated for the blockage causing a STEMI, the better the heart muscle will recover. That’s why a well-coordinated effort between EMS providers in the field and the medical staff at a cardiac interventional center is generally associated with fewer complications and better outcomes.
“Maryland’s EMS system continues to be a national model for trauma and emergency care,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The designation of cardiac interventional centers complements our statewide system and ensure that Marylanders receive the best treatment possible when it comes to heart attacks and STEMI care.”
The American Hospital Association estimates that 400,000 people in the United States and 5,600 in Maryland experience a STEMI each year, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms and call 9-1-1 immediately.
Symptoms can include:
- Discomfort in the center of the chest - which can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain - and lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw and/or stomach
- Shortness of breath