Recording the EHAC Moment


We are all familiar with the “Kodak moment” as an opportunity to capture that once-in-a-lifetime event. Similarly, the EHAC moment represents the chance to save a life by recognizing that a heart attack is occurring and treatment is of the utmost importance. In essence, an EHAC moment records a life being saved. We, as a nation, need to testify to the benefits of this important moment that significantly reduces heart attack deaths in the United States. The reason heart disease is the number one killer of the adult population in the United States is because we, as a society, allow it to present as a death sentence. Yet more than half of these deaths could have been prevented.

To better understand the EHAC moment, picture these two scenarios occurring in the same patient:

     (A) 45 year old WM presents to the emergency department with one hour of chest tightness and pain across his chest. He arrives in the ED with an EKG showing ST elevation in the anterior leads. He is rushed to the cath lab where a completely blocked LAD vessel is found and is quickly opened with angioplasty. The patient lives, but does so with significant damage to his heart. This will lessen his physical activities in the life ahead.

     (B) The same 45 year old WM is on a golf course and just finishing up the eighth hole. He develops fullness in his chest and has to sit down. He asks his partner to go ahead and hit first. He had two cups of coffee that morning and attributes the fullness in his chest to the caffeine and is hoping to burp so that he can get up and continue his game. The discomfort goes away. He hits his ball and starts to walk with his friend when the chest discomfort comes back. He pauses and asks his friend to give him a minute or so to rest. The friend immediately recognizes this as an EHAC moment (because he’s been deputized) and tells his friend that this episode could be his heart acting up and he's taking him to the hospital where there is a Chest Pain Center. He arrives at the Chest Pain Center and the EKG shows t-wave inversion across the anterior leads. His cardiac enzymes are normal, showing no damage, but because of his history he is taken to the cath lab where a 95% blockage is found in his LAD vessel that has a fresh clot formation around it. There is no wall motion abnormality to indicate any heart damage. The LAD vessel is opened with a wire and a stent is put into the vessel. The patient walks out of the hospital the next day with his life, an open LAD vessel and all his heart muscle intact. On the way out the ED door he asks the question, “Doc, what can I do not to come back into the hospital for this problem?” And the physician replies “Funny that you should ask….” and proceeds to give the patient information on his risk factors at a time when the patient is teachable.   

What is the difference in these two scenarios? Would it help to know that although both scenarios happened on the same day, scenario A occurred at 11pm and scenario B occurred at 5pm. The six hour difference in acknowledgement and treatment is the difference not only in saving a life, but to help someone keep the life they live.

Perhaps, you have been present at a time when the EHAC moment occurs.   If so we are interested in your story and would like to share it so that it can help others to see the value of being prepared when a heart attack occurs in your presence. Please submit your stories to community@scpcp.org and we will contact you for more information.

Please remember that it can happen to you, so we encourage you to become “deputized” by visiting the www.deputyheartattack.org website to learn Early Heart Attack Care.

How can you use this information in your education programs?

   Respectfully, 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.