Cardiac Care


A heart attack is a frightening event, and you probably don’t want to think about it. However, if you learn the signs of a heart attack and what steps to take, you can save a life — perhaps your own.

By using the following information, you will be able to act quickly and calmly if you, a family member or a friend has a heart attack.

During a heart attack, a clot blocks blood flow to the heart. Heart muscle begins to die. The more time that passes without treatment, the greater the damage.

Fortunately, clot-busting drugs and other artery-opening treatments can stop a heart attack in its tracks. Given immediately after symptoms begin, these treatments can prevent or limit damage to the heart. The sooner they are started, the more good they do, the greater chances for full recovery.

To be most effective, these treatments need to be given within an hour after heart attack symptoms begin.

Most people having a heart attack wait too long to seek medical help, and that can be a fatal mistake. People often take a wait-and see approach:

  • They don’t recognize symptoms of heart attack and think they’re feeling something else.
  • They’re afraid or unwilling to admit that their symptoms could be serious.
  • They’re embarrassed about “causing a scene” or going to the hospital only to learn it’s a false alarm.
  • They don’t understand the importance of getting to the hospital right away.

As a result, most heart attack victims wait two or more hours after their symptoms begin before they seek medical help. This delay can result in death or permanent heart damage that can greatly reduce their ability to do everyday activities.


Many people think heart attacks are mostly a “man’s problem,” yet heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States.

In men, the risk for a heart attack increases after age 45. In women, heart attacks are more likely to occur after menopause (usually, after about age 50).

Besides age, factors that increase the risk for a heart attack include:
  • A previous heart attack or angina
  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Father or brother diagnosed before age 55
  • Mother or sister diagnosed before age 65
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol and/or blood pressure
  • Tobacco use
  • Overweight
  • Physical inactivity


Heart attacks have beginnings, and symptoms can begin about two weeks prior to a major event. This is the window of opportunity to prevent death and minimize heart damage. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you take proper action:

Chest Discomfort
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for 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
Can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of Breath
Often comes along with chest discomfort, but it also can occur before the chest discomfort.

Other Signs

  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

Learn more about Early Heart Attack Care by clicking here.
Spanish version available


St. Tammany Parish Hospital has earned full accreditation with PCI from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC). The faster the response to a heart attack the more effective it is, so knowing where the nearest accredited chest pain center is can save a patient’s life.

STPH leads the way in cardiac care in the region, with the latest cath and peripheral labs, state-of-the-art operating suites, certified cardiac rehab, Coumadin clinic and active staff relationships with the region’s leading cardiology and cardiovascular specialists.

Educating our community about heart disease, the signs of a heart attack and how to live a heart healthy lifestyle is just one part of being a fully accredited chest pain center.


Click here for an overview of the program


Let the Certified Tobacco Treatment specialists at St. Tammany Parish Hospital help you reach your goal to go tobacco free.

As part of the Living Tobacco Free program, participants receive the tools and resources they need to quit permanently. Classes are offered every Wednesday for nine consecutive weeks. Topics range from emotional triggers and tobacco-replacement options to health effects and coping with “slips” while trying to quit.

This free program requires reservations, which can be made by calling 985-898-4468. Refreshments are provided.

Click here for more information and a schedule of 2017 classes.


Cardiac Rehab host free community classes on topics early warning signs of a heart attack, preparing for a cardiac emergency, risk factors for heart disease, benefits of exercise, nutrition for a healthy heart, weight management, medications and stress management. 

The free classes are held every other month at the Paul D. Cordes Outpatient Pavilion in Conference Room 2. Click here for more information and a schedule.

Other resources include:

Click here for a full range of services


The Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Program is comprised of individualized prescriptive exercise, education, and counseling for patients with or at risk for heart disease.

Our certified Advanced Cardiac Life Support registered nurses and clinical exercise specialists lead out Phase I, II and III programs, in addition to our P.A.D. intervention exercise training, to improve cardiovascular health and increase aerobic capacity, muscle strength and flexibility.


St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s Healthy Steps is exercise training for people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), which also is known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). This affects more than 9 million people nationwide, and at least half of those affected have no obvious leg symptoms. The comprehensive program is designed to improve symptoms and increase each patient’s quality of life.

Cardiac Rehab registered nurses, clinical exercise physiologists and exercise specialists supervise the class, while Cardiac Rehab staff, an STPH pharmacist and an STPH dietician discuss topics such as signs and symptoms of a heart attack, cardiac risk factors, cholesterol, diabetes, nutrition and smoking cessation. They are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Paul D. Cordes Outpatient Pavilion, 16300 Highway 1085, Covington.

Initial orientation is $35, which includes medical history intake, medication review, treadmill test, blood pressure measurements and EKG monitoring. Each supervised exercise session is $4, which includes blood pressure and heart rate monitoring and weekly and monthly EKG monitoring. A physician referral is required.

To learn more about the program and class times, call 985-898-3780.