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Heart Attack


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A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle, often the result of atherosclerosis - a buildup of plaque composed of fat deposits, cholesterol, and other substances. The actual cause of a heart attack is a blood clot that forms within the plaque-obstructed area.

If the blood and oxygen supply is cut for a long period of time, muscle cells of the heart suffer damage and die. The result is dysfunction of the muscle of the heart in the area affected by the lack of oxygen. That’s why you need care quickly at the best cardiac care center in South Florida.

If you have experienced a heart attack or undergone heart surgery, we coordinate your cardiac rehabilitation to return you to a safe level of functioning that’s right for you. If you have undetected risk factors, we can identify those and keep an eye on your progress.


Chest X-ray
This diagnostic test uses electromagnetic energy to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)
With electrodes taped to the chest, an EKG records the electrical activity of the heart, shows abnormal rhythms and detects heart muscle damage.

Echocardiogram (An Echo)
This noninvasive test uses sound waves to produce a study of the motion of the heart's chambers and valves.

Stress Testing
A cardiac stress test measures a heart's ability to respond to external stress in a controlled clinical environment. The stress response is induced by exercise or by drug stimulation.

BNP Testing
B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a hormone released from the ventricles in response to increased wall tension that occurs with heart failure. BNP levels are useful in the rapidevaluation of heart failure. The higher the BNP levels, the worse the heart failure.

Cardiac Catheterization
This procedure uses a catheter threaded through veins into the heart to see inside the heart, measure pressures, look at blood vessels, and help determine therapy options. UHealth is home to the Elaine and Sydney Sussman Cardiac Catheterization Lab, which provides advanced imaging capabilities and pinpointsaccuracy for new and complex procedures.


Emergency Treatment

  • Intravenous therapy may include bedside fluids, intravenous nitroglycerin or morphine to control pain and decrease the workload on the heart. Cardiac medication may include beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers to promote blood flow to the heart, improve the blood supply, prevent arrhythmias, and decrease heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Other medications involve antihyperlipidemics, which are used to lower lipids (fats) in the blood, particularly low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol. They may include statins or bile acid sequestrants to reduce cholesterol levels.We also provide oxygen therapy to get more oxygenation to the damaged heart muscle.

Once the condition has been completely diagnosed and you are stabilized, additional procedures to open the coronary arteries and restore blood to the heart may be recommended by your doctor.

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) This procedure uses a balloon threaded into the artery to create a bigger opening in the vessel to increase blood flow.

PTCA procedures include:

  • In a balloon angioplasty, a small balloon is inflated inside the blocked artery to open the blocked area and then is removed.
  • An atherectomy involves the blocked area inside the artery being cut away by a tiny device on the end of a catheter.
  • Patients can also receive laser angioplasty, in which a laser is used to "vaporize" the blockage in the artery.
  • A coronary artery stent uses atiny coil which is expanded inside the blocked artery to open the blocked area, and is left in place to keep the artery open.

Once the condition has been completely diagnosed and you are stabilized, additional procedures to open the coronary arteries and restore blood to the heart may be recommended by your doctor.

Coronary Artery Bypass
This surgery is often performed in people who have angina (chest pain) and coronary artery disease (where plaque has built up in the arteries) or who have had a heart attack. During the surgery, a bypass is created by grafting a piece of a vein above and below the blocked area of a coronary artery, enabling blood to flow around the obstruction. Veins are usually taken from the leg, but arteries from the chest or arm may also be used to create a bypass graft.

Why Choose UHealth?

Advanced heart failure therapies. Leading-edge treatments include ventricular assist devices and heart transplant. For advanced heart disease, options for treatment go beyond what is available in the community to prolong life and give you or your loved one a second chance.

Multidisciplinary care by recognized specialists in their field.  In complex cases, heart disease care may require the services of a cardiothoracic surgeon, an interventional cardiologist, a lung specialist, a diabetes specialist and a geneticist. Your doctors talk to each other and make sure all specialties involved in your care are on-board with a unified treatment plan.

What we are working on – ground-breaking and life-saving research. Our experts are studying a temporary ventricular assist device during percutaneous coronary intervention and looking at STEMI care advancements and how they can improve outcomes in patients 65 and older.

HeartAware: Free on-line health risk assessments that may save your life

Female doctor talking to a femail patient

Over 80 million American adults (more than one in three) have cardiovascular disease (CVD). Nearly 2,300 Americans die of CVD every day — that’s one death every 38 seconds. This number can be significantly reduced through education and early detection.

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