A heart attack occurs when part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies because of a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the area. Atherosclerosis, the leading cause of heart attacks, occurs when plaque builds up along the artery walls. Over time, the plaque hardens and may block the arteries.
If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, call 911.
Common Heart Attack Symptoms
- Chest discomfort and lightheadedness, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or chest pain
- Pain or discomfort that spreads to the jaw, neck, shoulders, arms or back
Less Common Heart Attack Symptoms
- Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness
- Stomach pain
- Unexplained weakness or tiredness
- Family history of heart attack
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Inactive lifestyle
- Oral contraceptive use
Heart Attack Care at SIU Medicine
If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. Paramedics can begin lifesaving measures sooner and alert the emergency department of your arrival.
Once a heart attack diagnosis has been made, cardiologists at SIU Medicine may provide:
- Angioplasty, which is a minimally invasive procedure used to restore blood flow to the heart. Usually a stent will be place inside the artery to prevent it from closing.
- Medications that prevent or dissolve blood clots. When given shortly after symptoms begin, clot-busting drugs can stop heart attacks as they occur, limit damage and save lives.
With a focus on continual improvement, our doctors take the time to research, study and innovate to provide the latest treatments for our patients.
Our care ranges from primary care physicians to specialists and sub-specialists who have advanced training. We're here for you when you need us.
Continually teaching the next generation of doctors, our physicians use the latest developments in procedures and technologies for our patients.