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Have an ECG in 10 minutes at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi: Patients complaining of chest pain will be given an ECG within 10 minutes of reaching the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, an official said.

"When you have chest pain, we say 'time is muscle'. Every minute the treatment is delayed, more muscles get damaged," Dr Wael Al-Mahmeed, Chief of Cardiology and Medical Director of the Chest Pain Centre at SKMC told XPRESS.

Elaborating on the hospital's main focus on offering the best and quickest cardiovascular care, Wael said it will not take more than 10 minutes for diagnosis when a patient walks in with a chest complaint.

"We have a protocol within the hospital where chest pain is treated as an emergency."

"The message that I really want to get across is that if you experience chest pain, it is serious and one should immediately reach the emergency and not waste time going to a general practitioner," warned the Emirati specialist. "They should call an ambulance and not ever make the mistake of driving to the hospital."

According to him, awareness is the key in helping control deaths due to heart disease. Strokes are the leading cause of death in the UAE, accounting for 25 per cent of fatalities.

The Cleveland Clinic-managed SKMC is one of the world's top cardiovascular disease institutions and the only institution outside the US recognized as a Cycle IV Chest Pain Centre.

The hospital admits 15 to 20 heart patients a day. The cardiac catherization labs at the Chest Pain Centre conduct between 80 and 100 angiograms a month.

With the country's single biggest team of 22 cardiologists, SKMC claims to be the only hospital in the region offering 24/7 angioplasty service.

Highlighting the high risk of heart attacks in the UAE, Wael said it is a disturbing trend that younger people -- some as young as 20 -- are falling prey to heart disease. "The average age of heart attack victims in the UAE is 55, which is 10 years younger than in the US or Europe. It means that heart attacks are happening among men who are in their 40s and 30s," he said.

The majority of patients treated at SKMC belong to the 50-60 age category, followed by the 40 to 50 age group and 30 to 40 bracket.

On the practice of 'going abroad' for specialised medical care, Wael said local patients go abroad primarily because of lack of trust in the local health care system. "But it will take time for people to understand that. The UAE wants to promote medical tourism and I can say that we are as good as anywhere abroad," Wael said.

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Article Details
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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Apr 18, 2013
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