Chest Pain and Stroke Hotline
Baptist Health Paducah's award-winning Chest Pain and Stroke Hotline (1-800-575-1911) is answered 24 hours a day by registered nurses with training in cardiac and stroke emergencies. It is provided to help people recognize the symptoms of heart attack and stroke and seek immediate assistance.
Time is of the Essence
Time is critical in the treatment of both heart attacks and strokes. Most heart attacks are caused by blockages in the arteries leading to the heart. When these arteries become clogged, not enough blood flows to the heart. The heart muscle does not get the nutrients and oxygen it needs and part of it may die. The result is chest pain (angina), a heart attack or sudden death.
About 80 percent of all acute strokes or "brain attacks" are caused by blockages in the arteries which supply blood to the brain. When brain cells are deprived of oxygen, damage is caused to the cells, impairing functions such as speech, movement and memory.
In many cases, the long-term effects of heart attack and stroke can be lessened or avoided by prompt treatment with TPA, a clot-busting drug. The success of this treatment, however, depends on quick recognition of heart attack and stroke symptoms and immediately getting the patient to the hospital.
Recognizing Heart Attacks
The following symptoms may mean you are having a heart attack:
- Dull or crushing pain in the center of the chest which lasts more than 20 minutes
- Pain that radiates into the arms, elbow, shoulder, back, neck or jaw
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Rapid or irregular pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feelings of apprehension;
- Loss of consciousness.
Recognizing "Brain Attacks" or Strokes
Many times, strokes occur without any warning. However, some people experience transient ischemic attacks --- warning signs that a stroke could happen at any time. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) means that the blood supply to part of the brain has been temporarily interrupted. A TIA may last a few seconds to a few hours. If a TIA persists longer than 24 hours, a stroke has occurred. Symptoms of both TIAs and stroke include:
- Paralysis, numbness, weakness or loss of coordination on one side of the body
- Drooping on one side of the face or mouth
- Blindness or loss of part of the vision in one eye
- Inability to speak or understand written or spoken words or difficulty speaking
- Episodes of memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
Symptoms of strokes caused by aneurysms --- a ruptured blood vessel that causes bleeding within or around the brain -- include a sudden severe or unexplained headache. These strokes are treated with immediate surgery to repair the damaged blood vessel.
Get Help Immediately
If you think you are having a heart attack or stroke, don't waste time waiting for your symptoms to get better. Get to the closest emergency room where doctors can begin immediate treatment and reduce the chance of permanent damage to your heart muscle or brain.
Baptist Health Paducah has a special Chest Pain Center with one of the fastest response rates in the nation. In addition, our Trauma Center offers a comprehensive treatment plan for the early symptoms of stroke.
Chest Pain Center
Baptist Health Paducah's Chest Pain Center is nationally- accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. For more information, phone Baptist Health Line at (270) 575-2918.