Protect Your Heart: Act Fast at First Signs of Heart Attack

February 22, 2012

Seeking medical treatment quickly can prevent long-term heart damage


Byron Haitus

Nashville, Tenn., (February 22, 2012) – When it comes to a heart attack, knowing what to do when experiencing symptoms is as important as knowing the symptoms themselves.

“At the very first sign of heart attack symptoms, call 9-1-1 or get to a medical facility immediately,” says Byron Haitas, M.D., Centennial Medical Center at Ashland City and TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center. “Every minute can matter in preventing long-term damage to your heart muscle and even saving your life.” Early symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, pressure, squeezing or discomfort, pain traveling down one or both arms, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, shortness of breath, back or jaw pain, or a feeling of being full. Individuals may experience one or many of these symptoms, and some may come and go.

Cheatham County residents experiencing heart attack symptoms can call 9-1-1 or get directly to the Centennial Medical Center at Ashland City emergency room for immediate medical evaluation and treatment. If a patient arrives experiencing a heart attack, the Ashland City ER medical team springs into action.

“When a patient enters the emergency room describing heart attack symptoms, our team immediately begins diagnosis and treatment,” explained Tonia Pemberton, Ashland City’s ER manager. “When a patient is experiencing a heart attack, we have well-established procedures to quickly coordinate for medical transport to TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center in Nashville.”

A trusted heart expert, like Haitas, is waiting for the patient at TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center to begin immediate evaluation and treatment based on the information provided from the Ashland City and emergency medical services personnel.

“With advanced technology and a multi-specialty team of experienced heart care specialists, we quickly begin treatment and provide the best possible outcome for the patient,” he said. “We then provide further heart health assessment and recommend a heart care plan with a heart specialist most experienced in the patient’s heart needs.”

February is Heart Health Month and a great time to review heart attack symptoms and re-assess personal risk factors for heart disease or a heart event. Heart health is important for people of all ages, regardless of gender, age, nationality, lifestyle, and other individual considerations. And heart concerns are unique to each individual. Visit FutureofHeart.com to learn more and to find a heart specialist that can discuss your health questions or concerns.

Centennial Medical Center at Ashland City offers the Cheatham County community enhanced on-site healthcare options which include inpatient care for non-life threatening illnesses, outpatient surgery, a 24-hour emergency room department, diagnostic lab services and imaging services. To learn more, visit TriStarHealth.com and select Centennial Medical Center at Ashland City or call (615) 342-1919.


Common early heart attack symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Pain traveling down one or both arms
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pressure, squeezing or discomfort
  • Back or jaw pain
  • Feeling of being full

Did you know...

  • More than 1.2 million Americans suffer a heart attack each year.
  • Most wait too long to seek medical help.
  • Symptoms can be treated before heart damage occurs.
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