A heart attack can be a scary event for you and your family. At Guthrie, we are here to take care of you before during and after a heart event. Many people experience heart attacks and survive. Know that your heart can heal after a heart attack. We see patients like you every day and provide support and excellent care.

If you are concerned you might be having a heart attack, call 911. Do not attempt to drive yourself to a hospital.

Symptoms of Heart Attack:


Men Women
  • Chest pain, pressure or tightness
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting
  • Jaw, neck or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in the arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, pressure or tightness
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting
  • Jaw, neck or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in the arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Fainting
  • Indigestion
  • Extreme fatigue

Is all chest pain a heart attack?

No, not all chest pain is a heart attack. A recurring discomfort that usually lasts only a few minutes is called angina. Angina occurs when the heart doesn’t get the blood supply that it needs.

  • If you are experiencing unstable angina, chest pain that lasts a few minutes during rest or sleep or without physical exertion, this can lead to heart attack and should be treated as an emergency.
  • Stable angina occurs during exercise or emotional stress when the heart doesn’t get the oxygen and nutrients that it needs.

What is a heart attack?

The heart muscle depends on oxygen and nutrients from the blood to live. Plaque can build up in the coronary arteries, a process called atherosclerosis. When plaque breaks, a clot forms around it. The clot can block or reduce the flow of blood to the heart. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), occurs when the muscle is starved of oxygen and nutrients. This restriction is called ischemia. Heart muscle then becomes damaged or dies.

How is a heart attack diagnosed?

When you have a heart attack there are many tests that need to be done to determine:

Non-invasive tests:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • Holter Monitor
  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • Stress Test
  • Cardiac Imaging

Invasive tests:

  • Blood test
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Angiogram
  • Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)

How is heart attack treated?

Treatment differs for each patient and type of heart attack. Doctors will first attempt to restore blood flow to the heart with medications or surgery. Then, they assess the damage to the heart and create an appropriate care plan.

You can count on excellent care. Guthrie Heart and Vascular Center is a 17,000 square foot space dedicated to the treatment of heart patients. With cardiac cath labs and a hybrid operating room, we are well equipped to care for heart emergencies. Surgery for heart attack may include:

  • Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or angioplasty and stenting
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)

After a heart event, the heart takes time to heal. You and your cardiologist will discuss medications and lifestyle changes to avoid having another heart attack. We offer a cardiac rehabilitation program to help patients recover in the hospital and maintain healthy habits after their stay.

Heart Attack Care at Guthrie

  • Board-certified cardiology specialist: Guthrie non-invasive and interventional cardiologists and cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgeons are specially trained in cardiovascular care and board certified.
  • The largest and most experienced heart care team in the region includes advanced practice providers; nurses; therapists; and diagnostic technicians, all trained in specialized care for your heart.
  • Guthrie Heart and Vascular Care Center, located in Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, is a state-of-the-art space for heart attack testing and treatment. Located near the emergency department and ICU, there are private patient rooms, cardiac catheterization labs, and a hybrid operating room. The unit is centered around quick efficient care of our patients.
  • Hybrid operating room: the cardiac team can perform imaging studies in the sterile environment of the operating room. Patients do not need to move to another location in the hospital once a procedure has started. Additionally, having the ability to switch from minimally invasive to open procedures, if necessary, keeps the patient in the same room if the surgical team needs to change its approach. The cardiac team can diagnose as well as perform cardiovascular interventions in one room.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation: programs in four locations: Guthrie Healthworks in Corning; Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital; Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, Towanda Campus; and Troy Community Hospital.

Guthrie heart surgeons are part of the largest cardiac care team in the northern Pa. and southern N.Y. Your heart is in good hands at Guthrie.

Guthrie interventional cardiology has advanced training in cardiac catheterization, performing ablation, stenting, angioplasty other structural heart procedures.

Our electrophysiology doctors and arrhythmia center teams help treat patients with arrhythmia issues like aFib using pacemakers or procedures like ablation.

Guthrie Cardiac and Vascular team treats patients with circulatory diseases: abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease. 

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