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Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs

About This Site

Each year, about 1.1 million Americans suffer a heart attack. About 460,000 of those heart attacks are fatal. Those figures would change if more Americans got to a hospital as fast as possible when a heart attack happened.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, designed this Web page as part of a campaign to increase awareness of the need to act fast when someone may be having a heart attack. Fast action can save lives and limit damage to the heart.

Called "Act In Time To Heart Attack Signs," the campaign involves a call to action that urges physicians to educate their patients about heart attack risk, warning signs, and survival. The campaign offers educational materials for both the public and health care professionals.

Partners in the campaign include the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and the National Council on Aging.

Act In Time materials, including this Web page, were developed in cooperation with the National Heart Attack Alert Program (NHAAP), launched by the NHLBI in 1991. The NHAAP is comprised of representatives from about 40 health-related professional, voluntary, and Governmental organizations. The Program seeks to reduce the death and disability that result from heart attacks.

This Web page's content includes information based on material developed by the Rapid Early Action for Coronary Treatment (REACT) research program. Funded by the NHLBI, the 4-year REACT study tested ways to reduce the delay from when heart attack symptoms start until arrival at the hospital. It was conducted in 20 communities located in Alabama, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, North and South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. REACT involved community organization and education, as well as patient and professional education.

In addition to participating in the Act In Time campaign, the American Heart Association has launched an education effort to shorten the time to treatment for patients whose heart suddenly stops beating effectively because of a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs within 1 hour of the start of heart attack symptoms and outside a hospital. They account for about half of all heart attack deaths. The American Heart Association wants to prevent such deaths by strengthening the "chain of survival." The effort focuses on four key areas: early access to care by calling 9-1-1, early CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), early defibrillation, and early advanced life support.


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