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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Cardiovascular emergencies

Minneapolis Heart Institute is one of the world's leading heart institutes, making a difference in the lives people we serve at locations in the Minneapolis area, Greater Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Emergency Department at Abbott Northwestern Hospital

To contact the Emergency Department, call
612-863-4233.

For all emergencies, call 911.

A program of:


Minneapolis Heart Institute® is known nationally for its time-saving protocols and techniques that ultimately provide the best care possible for patients experiencing cardiac or vascular emergencies.

Because it partners with more than 30 community-based hospitals throughout Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, Minneapolis Heart Institute® is prepared to care for patients no matter where they are when a cardiovascular emergency occurs. Minneapolis Heart Institute® is known nationally for its time-saving protocols and techniques that ultimately provide the best care possible for patients experiencing cardiac or vascular emergencies.

Society of Chest Pain Center accreditation

Chest pain accredation logoAbbott Northwestern was the first hospital in Minnesota to be accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

Chest pain and heart attack

Automated External
Defibrillator (AED)

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. That’s why it is important to know where AEDs are located anywhere you work, live or play. Find out more at the Allina Health Heart Safe Communities.

Chest pain is one of the most common reasons that people seek emergency care. It can result from blocked or reduced blood flow to the heart – a heart attack. It can also be a warning sign that a heart attack may occur.

It is critical to quickly determine if patients with chest pain are suffering from a heart attack or other heart problem, are at risk of having a heart attack, or are experiencing chest pain unrelated to their heart health. It is also important to determine what kind of heart attack a patient may be experiencing. Doctors may use the terms acute myocardial infarction (AMI), STEMI and non-STEMI to describe different types of heart attacks. (STEMI means ST-elevation myocardial infarction).

Minneapolis Heart Institute® physicians are at Abbott Northwestern Hospital 24/7 to care for patients who arrive with a heart attack. As well, they are available to work with physicians in community-based hospitals to determine whether patients need to be transferred to Abbott Northwestern or if they can be treated locally, depending on the type and severity of the chest pain.

The Chest Pain Program helps doctors determine when patients need immediate evaluation and treatment for chest pain. It also provides guidance in caring for patients who don’t need immediate care, but who may need to be seen by a cardiologist or other medical specialist for follow-up care.

Society of Chest Pain Center accreditation

Chest pain accreditation logoAbbott Northwestern was the first hospital in Minnesota to be accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

Minneapolis Heart Institute® has developed guidelines and systems to care for all cardiovascular emergencies. These streamlined processes have been applied to caring for patients with chest pain. This is helping hospitals throughout the region provide better care for patients with all types of chest pain. In the case of AMI, mortality was decreased by 50 percent.

Sudden cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is usually caused by an electrical malfunction of the heart called ventricular fibrillation.

Ventricular fibrillation causes a quivering of the heart muscle that makes it unable to pump blood through the body. Once the blood stops circulating, a person quickly loses consciousness and the ability to breathe, and will die without effective treatment.

In addition to the risk of death, sudden cardiac arrest can cause permanent brain damage.

Minneapolis Heart Institute®’s innovative “Cool It” Program saves lives and decreases the risk of brain damage by quickly cooling the patient’s core body temperature in order to slow down blood flow. This process is called therapeutic hypothermia.

Many different health care providers and medical specialists must work closely together to treat patients with hypothermia. Cooling often begins before the patient is transferred to Abbott Northwestern. Special equipment, medications and processes are used to cool the patient to the ideal temperature quickly. Then the patient is carefully managed by cardiologists, intensive care doctors, rehabilitation specialists and others throughout treatment and recovery.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to abdomen, pelvis and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward. Aneurysms larger than 2 inches are at higher risk of rupture. A ruptured aneurysm is a life-threatening medical emergency which likely requires surgery to correct.

If treatment is necessary, the AAA Program can offer both traditional surgery and minimally invasive (endovascular) surgery to repair aortic aneurysms. The treatment chosen will depend on the size and the location of the aneurysm and the patient’s overall health condition.

The Minneapolis Heart Institute® at Abbott Northwestern Hospital has developed standardized guidelines and systems to care for all cardiovascular emergencies. These streamlined processes have been applied to treating AAA and are helping hospitals throughout the region provide better care for patients with a ruptured AAA. As a result, the average time required to diagnose and treat patients with a ruptured AAA has been significantly reduced.

Faster treatment for AAA is associated with a higher survival rate.

Acute Aortic Dissection

An acute aortic dissection occurs when there is a tear in the inner wall of the aorta, the main artery leaving the heart.

An aortic dissection is rare but life threatening and requires immediate treatment. Initially, it may be mistaken for a heart attack. Early and correct diagnose is very important because the treatment for an aortic dissection is different than it would be for a heart attack.

The streamlined processes Minneapolis Heart Institute® uses to treat all cardiovascular emergencies help hospitals throughout the region provide better care for patients with aortic dissection. As a result, it has reduced the time it takes to diagnose and begin treating aortic dissection. This approach is saving lives – the mortality rate among aortic dissection patients treated by the Minneapolis Heart Institute® has decreased by 50 percent since the standardized guidelines were implemented in 2005.

Minneapolis Heart Institute® has partnered with these hospitals to ensure the staff at these hospital and staff that transport patient are in constant communication with physicians at Abbott Northwestern. All caregivers are following the protocols that have proven to save time and reduce mortality, thereby providing the best possible care to patients no matter where they are when a cardiovascular emergency occurs.