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Heart Care at University of Colorado Hospital

Care of Patients Having Heart Attacks or Heart Failure

The heart is a hard-working muscle that needs a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to nourish it.

If the heart's blood vessels become clogged or spasm, the blood cannot reach the heart, and the heart muscle is damaged.

This blockage of blood flow and damage to the heart muscle is a heart attack. More than one million Americans have a heart attack each year.

Care of Patients During and After a Heart Attack

When a patient arrives at our hospital with symptoms of a heart attack (also known as Acute Myocardial Infarction, or AMI), a team of physicians and nurses immediately assesses his/her condition and plans a regimen of care. We follow the American Heart Association and American Academy of Cardiology recommended guidelines. The following charts show how well we meet these guidelines.

Guidelines for Care: Heart Attack Patients

Aspirin on
Arrival/Discharge

Heart attack patients should receive aspirin on arrival to the hospital. 

Later, when these patients get ready for discharge, their physicians and nurses should discuss important information with them, including what medications they should continue to take at home. Some of the medications may be the same as those given during the hospital stay, such as aspirin. These medications are important to help the heart muscles work efficiently and hopefully help prevent any relapses.

Aspirin on arrival and discharge

"Cardiac Cath"

If a heart attack patient is found to have blood vessel blockages, we should be able to diagnose and treat it by inserting a small tube, or catheter, into the blood vessels that flow around the heart and clear the blockage. This procedure is known as a "cardiac cath" or PCI, which stands for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.

The median time to start this procedure should be 90 minutes or less.

Cardiac cath within 90 minutes of patient arrival

 

Quit Smoking Support

Heart attack patients who are smokers should receive information from their physician, nurse, or other member of their care team about the many resources that are available to help them stop smoking.

Smoking cessation advice

 


Care of Patients Having Heart Failure

The heart is a muscle that may become so weak that it is unable to pump enough blood to nourish the rest of the body.

This weakening of the heart muscle is heart failure. Over five million Americans have heart failure.

When a patient arrives at our hospital with symptoms of heart failure (also known as HF), a team of physicians and nurses immediately assesses his/her condition and plans a regimen of care.

We follow the American Heart Association and American Academy of Cardiology recommended guidelines.

Guidelines for Care: Heart Failure Patients

Going Home

As the patient gets ready for discharge, his physician and nurses should discuss important information with him. A patient with heart failure should be instructed on which medications to take and when, what foods to eat and avoid, what activities he can be involved in, what to do if symptoms return, and when to follow up with the physician.

Heart failure patient education at discharge

Quit Smoking Support

Heart failure patients who are smokers should receive information from their physician, nurse, or other member of their care team about the many resources that are available to help them stop smoking.

Heart failure patients smoking cessation advice