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Hammonton High students learn about heart attack during AtlantiCare STEMI drill

News Release

Contact:         Jennifer Tornetta, 609-569-7010,

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For Immediate Release:  October 18, 2012


Representatives of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center discussed heart attack risk factors and the importance of dialing 911 for symptoms of a heart attack during a health class for Juniors of Hammonton High School today. The presentation, which was part of an annual community drill the hospital holds as a Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care accredited Chest Pain Center, included Joseph Giralo, Hammonton School Board president, role-playing a person experiencing an ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction or “STEMI” - a type of heart attack that occurs when one of the heart’s major arteries that supplies oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the heart muscle itself is blocked.

ARMC’s Emergency Medical Services team demonstrated care it provides at the scene of a heart attack and enroute to the hospital as Thomas Brabson, DO, chairman, Emergency Services, AtlantiCare explained the care and the importance of dialing 911 rather than driving oneself or a loved one to the hospital so that treatment can begin before the person reaches the hospital. Howard Levite, MD, medical director of the Heart Institute at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center and of ARMC’s Cardiac Catheterization laboratories at ARMC’s Cardiac Catheterization and Rhythm Center, explained heart attack care AtlantiCare’s team provides once the patient reaches the hospital.

“Smoking is way uncool,” stressed Brabson as he explained risk factors that also included having a sedentary lifestyle, being obese, having high cholesterol, having a family history of heart disease, having had a stroke and increased age.

“People eat too much. People like to smoke. They aren’t active,” said Levite as he explained the high incidence of heart disease and heart attack in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties. “Part of your job is to make sure you are aware of, and that you avoid these risks so you don’t end up having a heart attack in your twenties or thirties,” he told the students.

“Symptoms include chest discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back,” said Brabson. “Some experiencing a heart attack might grab the center of his chest. There could also be a sensation of pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain; extreme fatigue; shortness of breath; being nauseous or lightheaded or

having discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, or jaw. There might also be a feeling of indigestion or upset stomach. Another sign is breaking into a cold sweat for no apparent reason.”

About the Heart Institute at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center

ARMC, the only hospital in southeastern New Jersey to offer emergency cardiac catheterizations through its comprehensive cardiac surgery program, is a state designated STEMI Center and an American Heart Association Mission Lifeline designated STEMI care system. It is also accredited by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care for meeting stringent guidelines and protocols in the care of patients with chest pain.



AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,461 employees and 600 physicians serve the community in more than 60 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008.

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