Heart & Vascular

Heart Alert Program

Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care

Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care

Time is of the essence when it comes to heart attack treatment. Based on national standards, our Carilion Clinic Heart Alert program speeds up the amount of time it takes to deliver life-saving care to people having heart attacks. Our streamlined approach is designed to deliver coordinated care by everyone at every step of the way, including EMS providers, physicians and Carilion's heart care professionals.

EMS providers in western Virginia have been trained to work closely with our medical technicians, doctors and nurses. Starting while heart attack victims are on the way to the hospital, our Heart Alert program provides simultaneous and comprehensive care with the goal of minimizing heart damage. Medical care is delivered faster and more efficiently, saving lives and reducing damage to the heart muscle.

A national initiative to improve heart attack care measures how quickly hospitals perform heart-saving procedures on heart attack patients. Beginning the moment a patient arrives at the hospital, the "door to balloon time" (referring to how quickly percutaneous coronary intervention, also called PCI, is performed to clear obstructions from the arteries and restore blood flow to the heart) should be within 90 minutes or less, according to The American College of Cardiology. At Carilion our average response time is approximately 30 minutes faster than the national standard.

We also have high success rates in treating heart attack patients with therapeutic hypothermia, a groundbreaking cooling therapy that reduces brain damage in patients who've suffered cardiac arrest. At Carilion we're justifiably proud of our fast, efficient and highly effective heart attack care.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, do not drive yourself to the hospital. Call 9-1-1 for emergency medical care.

Multimedia Gallery

The Heart Alert Program at Carilion Clinic manages patients with heart attacks.

What is Therapeutic Hypothermia?

Are the signs of a heart attack different in women than men?

Treatment options for narrowed or blocked arteries


  1. PRESSURE or squeezing in the center of the chest.
  2. SHOOTING PAIN that spreads to shoulders, arms, neck or jaw.
  3. NAUSEA, dizziness, fainting or sudden abnormal sweating.

Women may also experience abdominal pain and weakness.

 To learn more, visit: www.knowthefive.com.