Narrator: This is Science Today. When a heart attack strikes, every minute counts, but patients often delay seeking treatment by hours - sometimes, even days. Yet, the longer the wait, the more damage there is to the heart. Because of this, researchers are conducting a nationwide study to see whether or not one-on-one, scenario-based counseling for heart disease patients will increase the rates of early treatment. Kathleen Dracup of the University of California, San Francisco, is leading the study.
Dracup: The challenge for us as health professionals - nurses and doctors - is trying to help people be sensitive to their cardiac symptoms and know what to do right away so that they don't delay - they don't spend their time doing other things, self-treatment, taking Maalox, trying to call their doctor, which is not the right thing to do.
Narrator: Dracup says the right thing to do is take an aspirin and call 911 immediately.
Dracup: The data show that within an hour, if we can open up the blood vessel, there can be minimal or no damage to the heart muscle.
Narrator: For Science Today, Larissa Branin.