Do Not Underestimate the Signs of Chest Pain, warns Top UAE Cardiologist

  • 1 in 5 Chest Pain Cases in the UAE Linked to Underlying Heart Conditions 
  • Delayed Reaction to Leading Symptom of Heart Attack Putting Patients at Risk 
  • Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Officially Designated as Chest Pain Center by the Health Authority;  
  • Service Open to all Residents 

Failure to seek not only immediate medical attention, but also the right type of attention, when experiencing chest pain is one of the primary reasons that patients often do not receive potentially life-saving treatment, says Dr. Ahmad Edris, Staff Physician, Cardiovascular Medicine and Interventional Cardiology in the Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

And with cardiovascular disease firmly holding its place as the leading cause of death in the UAE, accounting for about one-third of mortalities and striking five to ten years earlier than in the West, this is a worrying trend. Based on recent Emergency Room data from across the UAE, approximately 1 in 5 patients who go to hospital with symptoms of chest pain are found to have an underlying heart condition, such as unstable angina or acute coronary syndrome (heart attack).

“What will often happen is people with chest pain will dangerously discount their symptoms as something trivial, or go to their usual healthcare provider, when in fact that facility may not have the specialists nor the faculty required to give them the rapid care they need,” Dr. Edris said. “However, when it comes to matters of the heart, time is of the essence. If the cause of chest pain is indeed an underlying heart condition, the more time is wasted, the more the heart muscle is compromised.”

Patients with chest pain are strongly advised to seek immediate medical attention, as it can often be difficult to determine the exact cause of the ailment. Symptoms to be aware of include chest pressure, fullness or tightness, crushing pain radiating to the neck or upper extremities, pain that lasts for more than few minutes or gets worse with activity, as well as shortness of breath associated with nausea or vomiting.

The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi has officially designated Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi as a Chest Pain Center; therefore, the hospital will treat any patient visiting the Emergency Department with chest pain symptoms. The program gives residents access to specialist acute care, including consultant-level cardiologists available around-the-clock – a service that is unique worldwide, advanced technology, such as the latest-generation coronary stents and sophisticated imaging and assessment tools, as well as therapies unique to the region, such as robotic hybrid cardiac surgery.

In 2016, more patients from across the region visited Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi for chest pain, heart attack, and heart failure. Nearly 2,000 Gulf patients had been seen for chest pain symptoms or related heart conditions by the end of the year. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the ability to care for significantly more patients and would like to extend its care to the entire region.

“Patients who arrive at the Emergency Department will first be tested for heart attack, which although is not always the cause for chest pain, could potentially present an immediate threat to an individual’s life. They may also check for dangerous lung conditions, such as a collapsed lung or lung clot,” said Dr. Rakesh Suri, Chief of Staff and Chief of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. “Those who require treatment will be given the necessary care, as the Chest Pain Center is open to all and our priority is saving the patient’s life – so whether it is a coronary bypass surgery or cardiac catheterization, we will operate immediately.”