The heart is an incredibly strong organ. Over the course of a day, it may
pump as much as 2,000 gallons of blood. But over time, a person’s
heart health can become compromised by factors such as a sedentary lifestyle,
cigarette smoking, and poor dietary choices. These risk factors can contribute
to a heart attack, which is always a life-threatening emergency that demands
immediate heart care. If you do suffer a heart attack or you’ve
been told that you’re at risk of it, the heart care specialists at
Lawnwood Regional Medical Center can give you the answers you need.
Over the years, atherosclerosis can develop. Fatty substances known as
plaque can build up on the interior walls of the arteries, which restrict
the amount of space the blood has to move through these vessels. Eventually,
a plaque may become damaged and rupture. The same bodily response that
works to stop bleeding from cuts on your skin goes to work on the ruptured
plaque. Platelets rush to the plaque and form a blood clot. If it’s
large enough, this blood clot can completely
obstruct blood flow through the artery, starving one section of your heart of the life-sustaining blood it needs.
When the heart muscle is starved of blood, it’s also starved of oxygen.
The lack of oxygen will cause the heart cells to die. Unless you receive
emergency care, you might die from ventricular fibrillation or heart failure.
If the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body, including
the brain, then those cells will begin to die.
Scar Tissue Formation
Once you arrive at the ER, the heart care team will immediately get to
work restoring blood flow to the heart. However, the dead heart cells
will never regenerate. Instead, this part of the heart forms scar tissue,
which cannot work as well as normal heart tissue.
The Heart Institute at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center is dedicated to
saving lives. When patients arrive at our ER in Treasure Coast with symptoms
of a heart attack, they are rapidly evaluated and treated with the latest
cardiac intervention techniques. Please call 911 now if you think you’re
having a heart attack; non-emergent questions about our
Heart Institute may be directed to a registered nurse at (772) 461-4000.