When should I see a Cardiologist?
It is important to see a Cardiologist whenever you have concerns that
something may be wrong with your heart or major blood vessels. Symptoms
like chest pain, shortness of breath, leg cramps while walking, dizziness,
light headedness, palpitations or the feeling of an irregular heart beat are
just some of the reasons why someone should see a cardiologist. In some
cases, it may be on an emergency basis.
What hospitals are affiliated with Premier Cardiology?
The major hospital affiliation is Hoag Presbyterian Memorial Hospital. You
can also see a Premier Cardiologist if you are at Fountain Valley Medical
Hospital Regional Center, or Orange Coast Memorial Hospital.
What types of testing and procedures are offered at Premier Cardiology and by Premier Cardiologists?
The full range of testing is available at Premier Cardiology–from simple
EKGs to Nuclear Stress Testing and Echocardiograms. Should a more
invasive procedure become necessary, a Premier Cardiologist will be able to
see you at any of the affiliated hospitals.
How does Bypass Surgery differ from Angioplasty?
More intensive as it requires removing blood vessels from other parts of
your body (like legs or in the chest) and bypassing the blocked arteries. It
actually requires a Cardiac or Thoracic surgeon to become involved and
involves a hospital stay of a few days. The angioplasty is done by the
Cardiologist and is done with a minimal hospital stay. Usually mild sedation is
required for an angiogram with or without the angioplasty, whereas bypass
surgery requires general anesthesia.
How will I know if I need Bypass Surgery or Angioplasty?
Oftentimes, if there are complicated blockages or too many in one artery,
bypass surgery is recommended. Your Premier Cardiologist will be able to
discuss these options with you to ensure you are able to make an informed
decision about the best outcome in your care.
What happens in case I am having a heart attack?
First and foremost, if you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 (do
not try and drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital unless
you do not have access to emergency medical services like 911). Also, take
one full-dose aspirin (325 mg) or two baby aspirins (160 mg) unless you’ve
been instructed by your doctor(s) not to take aspirin. Ideally, if it is
uncoated, placing it under your tongue will get it into your bloodstream
faster than swallowing it. This will help prevent the clotting agents in your
blood (called platelets) from blocking your arteries even more.
It is important you not delay being seen by a doctor if you think you are
having a heart attack. Time is exceptionally critical because the sooner you
restore blood flow to your heart’s muscle, the better the chance of saving it.
If too much time goes by, the heart muscle dies leaving that part of your
heart less functional and more likely for long-term complications like heart
What is the difference between a heart attack and angina?
Angina refers to the pain that occurs from lack of normal blood flow to the
heart’s muscle, a condition called ischemia. This can occur from a blockage in
the coronary artery or spasm. A heart attack usually occurs when blood flow
has stopped and the heart muscle becomes injured (reversible) or dies
(often irreversible) due to a lack of oxygen. It’s important to get both
conditions evaluated right away by a Cardiologist.
What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
The typical symptoms of angina or a heart attack include but are not limited
to: chest tightness or pressure, left arm pain (may occur in the right arm as
well), shoulder and/or upper back pain, teeth or jaw pain, epigastric/ upper
abdominal or stomach pain like indigestion, feelings of anxiety, dizziness or
lightheadedness, and nausea with or without vomiting. It may be triggered
by physical work or stress or may occur at night. Furthermore, there may
be shortness of breath or diaphoresis (sweating) occurring at the same time.
Becoming cold and clammy like in a cold sweat is of concern.
In addition, atypical symptoms are more common in women and may include:
sleep disturbances and unusual fatigue or weakness in the arms. Women
often present without the typical chest pain described above and need to be
aware of the other symptoms that may present instead.
What can I do to prevent heart disease and a heart attack?
Fortunately, there are many things we can do to prevent (if not lower our
chances) heart disease and a heart attack. One of Premier Cardiology’s
focus is to aid patients and their families in the Prevention of Heart
Disease, Heart Attacks, and the Complications that can follow in either case.
Click here to read more about the Prevention of Heart Disease, Heart
Attacks, and their Complications.
What can I do if I have specific non-emergency questions related to my health?
If you are already under the care of a Premier Cardiologist, you can login
into our secure website and submit your question through our “Ask the
Doctor” link. It is important, however, that you NOT address any
emergency-related questions via this link as the question may not be
answered immediately. In the case of an emergency, it is CRITICAL that
you contact Emergency Medical Services (EMS) by dialing 9-1-1.