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Types and Management of Cardiac Emergencies

Cardiac emergencies are sudden and potentially life-threatening conditions such as acute coronary syndrome, myocardial infarction (heart attack), cardiac arrest, and heart failure. These emergencies require immediate medical attention to prevent further damage to the heart muscle and potentially save the patient's life. While avoiding cardiac emergencies may be impossible, taking proactive steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage underlying medical conditions can lower the risk and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Early recognition and management of cardiac emergencies are crucial for improving patient outcomes and reducing morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular diseases.


Types of cardiac emergencies commonly include acute coronary syndrome (ACS), myocardial infarction (MI), cardiac arrest, and heart failure.

  • ACS refers to a group of clinical symptoms that indicate a sudden reduction in blood flow to the heart.
  • MI, commonly known as heart attack, occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, leading to damage or death of heart muscle tissue.
  • Cardiac arrest is sudden loss of heart function, often caused by an electrical malfunction in the heart.
  • Heart failure is when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.


Handling cardiac emergencies requires a coordinated and timely response from trained healthcare professionals.

Recognize the signs: the first and most crucial step is recognizing the signs and symptoms of a cardiac emergency, such as chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness. If a person is experiencing symptoms, they should seek immediate medical attention. Healthcare professionals may perform diagnostic tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or blood tests, to confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment plan.

Door-to-Balloon time: Door-to-balloon time refers to the time from a patient's arrival at the hospital to opening the blocked artery in the heart using a balloon catheter. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes or less. This time frame is essential because the longer the delay, the more damage is done to the heart muscle.

Treatments: include medications, such as aspirin and nitroglycerin, and interventional procedures, such as balloon angioplasty or stenting. In addition, bystanders can be critical in handling cardiac emergencies by performing (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) until medical help arrives. Prompt recognition and management of cardiac emergencies can significantly improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of associated complications.


While it may not be possible to prevent a cardiac emergency, there are several measures one can take to reduce the risk, like:

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by engaging in regular physical activity, following a nutritious diet, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Controlling underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
  • Routine check-ups can help identify risk factors and enable early detection and management.
  • Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a cardiac emergency and seeking immediate medical attention can improve results and reduce the risk of further complications.

While not all cardiac emergencies can be prevented, taking proactive measures can lower the risk and improve overall heart health.

Life-saving cardiac facilities at FUH Heart Institute

Fakeeh University Hospital’s Heart Institute is a modern facility that offers a wide range of life-saving services for cardiac emergencies along with being a hub for diagnosis and treatments of heart conditions.

FUH has a dedicated cardiac catheterization lab staffed by highly experienced interventional cardiologists and nurses. The lab has the latest technology, including advanced imaging systems and real-time monitoring equipment, to ensure patients receive the highest quality care. In addition, the hospital has a well-equipped Emergency department offering prompt actions for cardiac and other emergencies.

FUH’s Heart Institute offers specialized and comprehensive heart care services including medical management, minimally invasive interventional procedures, and surgical treatments for all ages through smart diagnosis.

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