Medical Malpractice Information from Attorneys in Stamford, Connecticut Failure to Diagnose an Impending Heart Attack Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It ranks as the leading cause of death in the 65 years and older age group and the second leading cause of death in the 25 to 64 year old age group. The term cardiovascular disease includes much more than heart attack (also known as myocardial infarction or “MI”.) It also includes irregular heart beat (arrhythmias), heart failure, congenital heart disease, high blood pressure and peripheral artery disease. Some of these conditions are sometimes referred to as Acute Coronary Syndrome or “ACS.” If you or someone you know is suffering from this, do not hesitate to contact us today. How am I at Risk for a Heart Attack? There are several widely accepted risk factors for coronary heart disease, including increasing age, gender (male more common than female, although female risk rises with age, particularly after menopause), and heredity. The factors also include race, smoking, elevated blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, obesity and diabetes mellitus. Other things that can be triggering factors for a heart attack are physical or emotional stress and excessive consumption of alcohol. What are the Signs of an Impending Heart Attack? Symptoms of a heart attack or an impending heart attack can include discomfort in the chest that lasts for a few minutes or comes and goes. The discomfort can be uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or pain; it can be discomfort in the upper part of the body such as the back, neck, or jaw; pain in one or both arms; or pain in the stomach with a feeling like indigestion. Symptoms may also include shortness of breath, with or without discomfort in the chest. The patient may also experience nausea, lightheadedness or a cold sweat. What is Proper Diagnosis for a Heart Attack? Diagnosis by a health care professional may require a complete medical and social history, an EKG and an ECG to discover abnormalities in the heart, and blood work to determine the presence of specific blood enzymes that would indicate if a heart attack were in progress. Premature discharge from care, including from the Emergency Department of a hospital, could result in severe heart damage or death. Also, there are treatments that can be provided that can prevent heart damage and death, such as the use of clot-dissolving drugs known as Tissue Plasminogen Activators or “TPA.” On another front, a March 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that patients presenting for emergency care on a weekend are more likely to experience poorer outcomes or death because health care providers fail to use the customary invasive treatments, such as angioplasty, that might be more readily available during the normal work week. This should not be the case. Hospitals should be prepared to provide all necessary emergency treatment to heart patients 24 hours a day, seven day per week. Get Help with a Medical Malpractice Claim Did health care providers deviate from the accepted standard of care in your case? Contact the experienced lawyers at Casper & de Toledo in Stamford, Connecticut if you think you may have a claim for damages or compensation.