Winning the Battle

We welcome the military hospitals as they embark on developing Chest Pain Centers in their facilities as a strategy to prevent heart attacks from taking lives that are “too good to die.” We certainly need your help in seeing the heart attack problem as the “war at home.”  We are told by the American Heart Association that 800,000 Americans die each year from heart disease. The majority of these deaths are from heart attacks. The gravity of these horrendous numbers often goes unnoticed. Americans seem to accept that death has to come some way and that this is what is to be expected. 800,000 deaths in one year are more than the number of American soldiers killed in all past wars except for the Civil War. However, more than 50% of these deaths are preventable. We need to mount an attack that will address this problem and save lives. Using Early Heart Attack Care to raise awareness will help us achieve success.

How can we expect the military to provide this needed assistance? In the Civil War Battle at Antietam, Confederate General Robert E. Lee attacked the Union troops by focusing on the vulnerable parts of the flank. Although he was not victorious at Antietam (the Confederates were outnumbered 2 to 1), General Lee was clearly a master tactician. Where is the most vulnerable flank or the “Achilles tendon” of the heart attack problem?  All heart attacks are not the same. Some come crashing. Some come gradually over a course of time. Hospitals have to offer comprehensive services and prepare for all patients.  However, most hospitals are devoted to the crashing heart attack patients, but the number of lives saved is very small.

The area that has the potential to save the most lives lies at the edge of the hospital within the community. This has been very difficult to address in order to take advantage of this valuable interaction. However, this is exactly what the Chest Pain Center strategy is all about. Simply put, it is a two-prong attack strategy of educating the public about the beginning symptoms of a heart attack and providing a “pathway” in the Chest Pain Center for management of such patients. Thus, the vulnerable flank is now being addressed. More effort is being put into place to save more lives.  Important here is that impending heart attacks can be prevented from occurring.  Although it was recognized, this acute prevention of a heart attack is a relatively new concept in care. Today it provides a plan with more consistency and is established with a standardization of care that is constantly updated.

Activation of this approach begins with the “deputization” of hospital employees and spreads to the community where it has the greatest impact. The war against heart disease takes on more importance when it is looked upon as a “ war at home” and one that we can all become patriotic in going to war to help bring victory.  Death by heart attack has enjoyed the lofty position of being the number one killer for over the last 150 years. It is able to do this because we have allowed this in the past to be a crashing illness. We now have a strategy (EHAC) to attack it early in the course of its beginning. The medical literature approximates these beginnings (prodromal symptoms) to be about 50% of heart attack presentations.  Our goal is to reduce significantly heart attack deaths by 400,000 in carrying out this plan. We welcome the military hospitals participation in helping to bring this about. 

Best of Luck in Saving a Life,
Raymond D.Bahr MD

Dr. Raymond Bahr's Articles & Videos

Dr. Raymond Bahr writes articles about the EHAC movement. He has also done several videos that outline the importance of Early Heart Attack Care.

Meet the Deputy Heart Attack Founder

Dr. Raymond Bahr

Dr. Raymond Bahr is passionate about cardiac care and preventive education. As the founding father of the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (now ACC Accreditation Services), his passion to disseminate lifesaving information is a driving force behind the Deputy Heart Attack Program. Throughout his career, he has created multiple programs to help others understand the life saving measures that can save a life. In 1981 at St. Agnes Hospital, Dr. Bahr established the Chest Pain Emergency Department (CPED), the first such unit in the world. The initial purpose of this CPED was prompt and effective treatment of patients presenting with heart attack/sudden death. The CPED was coupled with an aggressive education program that taught the community the early warning signs of a heart attack. This education program extended to middle and high school students via health and science curricula.