UAE: Within minutes, hospital saves two heart attack patients who arrived in ER at the same time

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Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s (CCAD) caregivers from a range of disciplines came together to treat both patients simultaneously. It took them 61 and 46 minutes to remove the blockage in their hearts, which is significantly faster than international standards.

Having received prior warning of the patients’ arrival, the on-call team was able to deliver lifesaving care despite the increased complexity presented by having two emergency cases at the same time.

“Research conducted at Cleveland Clinic shows that fast and effective care based on proven best practices can reduce in-hospital mortality. I am heartened to see what my colleagues in Abu Dhabi have achieved for their community,” said Dr Lars Svensson, chairman of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Designated as a chest pain center by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, CCAD has a specialized team on standby and ready to provide emergency care for heart attack patients 24 hours a day.

This level of preparedness means that the hospital’s door-to-balloon time — or the amount of time that passes between a heart attack patient arriving at the hospital and the team removing the blockage and restoring blood flow to the heart — took an average of 53 minutes in 2020, almost 40 minutes faster than the American College of Cardiology target of 90 minutes.

Doctors at CCAD are urging residents to take any sign of chest pain seriously and seek proper medical care immediately because ‘every minute counts’.

“When it comes to heart attacks, for every minute that goes by without medical treatment, the chances of a good outcome for the patient decrease. An hour’s delay is associated with an 8 per cent increase in mortality,” said Dr Mahmoud Traina, an interventional cardiologist at CCAD.

“Don’t wait to see if (the chest pain) passes, get to a designated center as quickly as possible,” he added. The reminder comes ahead of World Heart Day on September 29.

Recent data suggests that only 15 per cent of severe heart attack cases arrive at the Abu Dhabi hospital in an ambulance, significantly below the percentage in the US.

In Abu Dhabi, the vast majority of patients arrive at the emergency department after being driven by a friend or family member.

Explaining why it’s better to call an ambulance in such cases, Dr Traina said: “Not all emergency departments have the same ability to provide rapid, high-quality care in heart attack cases, particularly at night or over the weekend. This means that patients who don’t go to a designated chest pain center directly can experience unnecessary delays in their treatment. Calling an ambulance means paramedics can begin diagnostics and call ahead to let us know a heart attack case is coming. That means we’re ready to begin treatment as soon as they arrive, saving precious minutes for treatment.”

Heart attack symptoms to look out for

>> Sudden, increasing chest pain and angina*

>> Pain spreading from the jaw, throat, arm, back or upper stomach

>> Profuse sweating or cold sweats

>> Nausea/vomiting

>> Dizziness

>> Shortness of breath

>> Feelings of indigestion/heartburn

>> Rapid or irregular heartbeats

>> Extreme fatigue/weakness

>> Heavy, elephant-sitting-on-your-chest feeling

*Heart attack symptoms can vary by gender with many women not experiencing chest pain at all — only neck, jaw or back pain, among other symptoms.

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