Rely on ambulance when dealing with heart attack: Winnipeg cardiologist

Don’t drive yourself to the hospital if you’re suffering from a heart attack — that’s the message from a cardiologist at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital.

According to Dr. John Ducas, only a third of people experiencing heart attack symptoms will call 911 to get an ambulance even though driving yourself to the hospital is far more dangerous.

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“About one out of every 20 people, once the heart attack starts, in the first hour or so, will suddenly die,” he said.

“If you’re in an ambulance on a heart monitor, the paramedics can start up your heart. If you’re in your car, you will crash, you may kill somebody, and you will die.”

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In just over an hour, Ducas told 680 CJOB, patients who call an ambulance will usually have their arteries unclogged — half the time it would take if you headed to the emergency room on your own.

He said many people believe they’ll get to the emergency room faster if they drive themselves but that’s simply not the case, even in rural areas outside Winnipeg.

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“The ambulance service will do the ECG (electrocardiogram) in the patient’s home, and bring the patient directly to the hospital,” said Ducas.

“The average time for the ambulance to get to your house (even) in a rural setting is about 10 to 15 minutes.”

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