Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Heart Attack Treatments
Heart Attack Treatment in Burlington, VT
Heart attack treatments are either non-surgical or surgical. Every patient is different and may use a combination of treatments depending on their situation.
Heart attacks are treated as a Level 1 trauma at Fletcher Allen, with a team of interventional cardiac experts available within minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — to open blocked arteries.
Medications are often critically important, saving previous minutes in treating heart attack. At Fletcher Allen, we offer the full range of medical therapies and the latest pharmaceutical products available.
- Aspirin – Aspirin inhibits blood clotting and helps maintain blood flow. Scientific studies have shown that aspirin can significantly reduce death rates when taken during a heart attack.
- Thrombolytics – These drugs help dissolve blood clots that are blocking blood flow to your heart. If you live in an outlying area and are transferred to Fletcher Allen, you may receive these medications at your local hospital, before coming to Fletcher Allen for an angioplasty or stenting procedure.
- Superaspirins – You may receive other medications which are similar to aspirin known as superaspirins. These drugs help prevent new blood clots from forming.
- Blood-thinning medications – These include drugs such as heparin, usually given in the first few days after a heart attack. Heparin makes your blood less likely to form clots.
- Pain-relieving medicine – If you are in great pain, doctors may give you a pain-reliever such as morphine.
- Nitroglycerin – This medication temporarily widens blood vessels and improves blood flow to and from the heart. It is usually given to treat angina, a recurring pressure or tightness in the chest.
- Beta blockers – Beta blockers help decrease the demand on your heart, helping the heart muscle to relax, slowing your heart rate and lowering blood pressure. They can also help prevent future heart attacks.
- Cholesterol-lowering medications – These medicines – which include drugs such as statins and niacin -- help lower levels of bad cholesterol. They may be given soon after a heart attack to help improve survival.
Angioplasty and Stenting
Studies have shown that one of the most successful treatments for severe heart attack is to have your blocked or clogged artery opened as soon as possible.
Patients at Fletcher Allen undergo a balloon angioplasty or stenting procedure in Fletcher Allen’s advanced Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. This service is the only one of its type in Vermont and a leading program in the region, performing approximately 5,000 procedures each year.
Fletcher Allen’s cardiology service is among the best in the nation for its “door-to-balloon” times – the amount of time from when a patient arrives at the hospital to when a balloon is inserted into his or her blocked artery. Recent data show patients’ arteries are being opened in 65 minutes or less at Fletcher Allen – well below the national guideline.
- Angioplasty - Fletcher Allen cardiologists insert a catheter with a special balloon into a blocked coronary artery. The balloon is inflated to open up the artery and restore blood flow to the heart.
- Stenting - This procedure is usually performed with angioplasty. It involves inserting a stent — a tiny wire mesh device — into a blocked artery to keep it open, restoring blood flow to the heart. Stents are inserted using a catheter, after a balloon is used to open the artery.
Some patients who suffer a heart attack may need coronary bypass surgery. Coronary bypass surgery is performed by Fletcher Allen's cardiothoracic surgeons.
With this more invasive procedure, surgeons open the chest and insert new blood vessels in the heart. These vessels are taken from other parts of the body and connected to the heart. They create a new pathway that bypasses clogged coronary arteries and allows blood to flow normally. Learn more about coronary artery bypass surgery.
Fletcher Allen has a considerable history of performing coronary artery bypass surgery. Cardiac surgeons have performed thousands of life-saving cardiac surgeries at our organization for more than 50 years.
Fletcher Allen voluntarily publishes quality of care reports on its Web site about coronary artery bypass surgeries performed by our cardiothoracic surgeons. These reports provide a wealth of information, including safety, recovery time, the number of surgeries we perform and patient satisfaction scores.
Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call 802-847-4600.