Emergency Cardiac and Stroke Care in Washington

Many people in Washington die or are disabled from heart attacks and strokes because they don't get life-saving treatment in time. A report released in October 2008 by the state Department of Health, "Emergency Cardiac and Stroke Care in Washington," explains why many people don't get life-saving treatments.

The report, commissioned by the Washington State Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Steering Committee, a Governor-appointed group, included representatives of:

  • Professional associations.
  • Emergency medical services providers.
  • 9-1-1 agencies.
  • Cardiologists.
  • Neurologists.
  • Emergency physicians.
  • Nurses.

It recommends adopting the American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care as the state standard for cardiac and stroke care:

Web Resources for Emergency Personnel



For more information, contact Kim Kelley (kim.kelley@doh.wa.gov).

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Heart attack and stroke are medical emergencies. If you think that you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately. Even if you are not sure it is a heart attack, have it checked out. Every minute matters! There are treatments that can save lives if they are given as soon as possible.

Common Signs Of a Heart Attack

Chest discomfort

  • Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body

  • Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath

  • May occur with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs may include:

  • Breaking out in a cold sweat.
  • Nausea.
  • Lightheadedness.

Women and people with diabetes may experience different symptoms. Women and people with diabetes who have experienced nerve damage may not feel strong chest discomfort. They are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Risk Factors for Heart Attack

Risks you can't change

Risks you can change