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Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women.

CAD happens when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle. When these arteries become hardened and narrowed and blood flow to the heart decreases, ischemia or lack of oxygen results.

Patients can experience chest pain or symptoms of angina. If the blood flow to the heart is completely blocked, a heart attack occurs.

Lack of blood flow in the arteries is a life-threatening event with symptoms that can include:

  • Shock
  • Cold or clammy skin (diaphoresis)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dangerous arrhythmias
  • Severe chest pain

Anyone experiencing these symptoms or who believes they may be having a heart attack should call 9-1-1.

Time is Critical

As a designated cardiac receiving center for Alameda County, Washington Hospital is committed to restoring blood flow to the heart as quickly as possible. First, working with paramedics in the field helps the Emergency Department staff be fully prepared to receive a patient who may be having a heart attack. The paramedics can transmit EKG results to the Hospital and on-call cardiologist. The goal is to enable the physician to make a diagnosis, have the cath lab team and room ready even before the patient arrives at the Hospital. Washington Hospital is the only hospital in the area to have three cath lab rooms—reducing any concern that one may be unavailable for immediate procedures.

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