In the midst of heart attack symptoms, people wait, on average, four hours to go to the hospital. Whether they are experiencing full-blown “Hollywood heart attacks” of anvil-on-the-chest pressure with arm pain, or more ambiguous symptoms – indigestion, trouble breathing, fatigue – delaying treatment more than 60 minutes causes irreversible damage to the heart. It dies. Heart muscle dies.

So what is up with human beings? Why do we do this to ourselves? Women, in particular … why do we pull a June Cleaver and make sure the lawn is scissor-cut, the underwear ironed, and a week’s worth of meals is in the freezer BEFORE we dial 9-1-1?

To answer these questions, the Yale Heart Study needs participants. Are you one of the 1.2 million Americans each year who’ve had a heart attack? Or, perhaps you know someone or a friend of someone who has? Please direct him or her to http://heartstudy.yale.edu.

The goal of the Yale Heart Study is fundamental: to help people get care as quickly as possible when they are having heart attack symptoms. The study offers an online, self-tailoring survey to examine people’s behavioral processes. The data collected will be used to develop strategies to ensure people experiencing heart attack symptoms seek appropriate care fast! In a nutshell: An emergency is an emergency. Act like it!

Participating in the Yale Heart Study is simple. I’ve completed the survey, and although it was a challenging walk down memory lane (with abundant potholes) I felt relief and pride when I was finished. Depending on your personal story, it takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Participation is completely anonymous. Go to http://heartstudy.yale.edu.

The study has been approved by the Yale University Institutional Review Board and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Primary Investigator of the Yale Heart Study is Angelo A. Alonzo, PhD. If you have any questions, contact the heart.study@yale.edu.

Just think: best case, you help save lives by getting heart attack patients to the hospital quicker. Worst case, you can talk about “studying” at Yale! It’s a win-win!

Heart With Muscle Damage and a Blocked Artery

Figure A shows a heart with dead heart muscle caused by a heart attack. Figure B is a cross-section of a coronary artery with plaque buildup and a blood clot. Source: NHLBI/NIH

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