On this page you can find out about:
What the ambulance crew will do
believe you are having a heart attack, we will try to reach you as
quickly as possible.
When our staff arrive, they will assess you
and may give you some drugs to relieve the pain.
In particular, our staff should:
- offer you aspirin so your
blood flows more easily through your blocked artery
- offer to spray glyceryl
trinitrate under your tongue to improve blood flow to the
- ask you about your pain
levels before and after any treatment using the Wong-Baker faces
pain rating scale
- offer you pain relief.
Unlike many ambulance services in the UK, our
staff are trained to diagnose a heart attack using a piece of
equipment called a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG).
Using the 12-lead ECG, which records the
activity of your heart, our staff will diagnose whether you are
having a common type of heart attack, often called an ST-elevated
If we find that you are having a heart attack,
we will immediately take you for specialist hospital treatment.
Read more about the work we’re doing to
improve care for heart attack patients.
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Where you will be taken
If you are having a heart attack, you
will not necessarily be taken to your nearest hospital. Instead we
will take you to one of eight heart attack centres in London where
a team of specialists will treat you. As a result you will receive
the best possible level of care.
For more information about the eight specialist heart
hospitals in London, please click on the links below:
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Your treatment in hospital
expert team at the heart-attack centre will run a number of tests
on you. If you are definitely suffering from a heart attack, you
will be admitted for an emergency heart operation called primary
Angioplasty is a procedure where a catheter is
inserted into your artery and a small balloon then inflated to open
the blockage. A small tube called a stent is inserted to keep the
artery open. Angioplasty is recognised as the best possible
treatment for a heart attack, and is successful in restoring blood
flow to the heart in 95 per cent of cases.
Most patients undergoing primary angioplasty
leave hospital within three days.
In most of the rest of the UK, heart attack
patients are treated with thrombolysis, where they are given a
clot-busting drug to remove the blockage from the artery.
Thrombolysis is successful in 65 per cent of cases.
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