A Letter from Our Founder - Dr. Raymond Bahr
To My Patient and Friend… A Heartfelt Message
I write this letter with the hope that I can help you gain some of the insight that I have learned after many years of working with heart attack patients. I offer you this take-home message: Heart attacks do not have to kill, and heart attacks do not have to destroy heart muscle. They do so only because you and I allow this to happen. It is important for you to understand this because, having done so, the next step is to be proactive in helping to correct the problem.
The heart is a tremendous pump. I say that because it has tremendous reserve capacity. It can pump 5 to 50 liters per minute, allowing you to do whatever is physically necessary to meet your needs and demands, whether it be sitting on the couch or running a marathon. To do this, the heart muscle needs nourishment. Three heart vessels are given the task of delivering oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. It is only when one or more of these vessels are blocked that this reserve capacity and the ability to function normally are compromised.
I could tell you about cholesterol, hypertension, and cigarette smoking and how controlling these risk factors can prevent the development of blockage within these vessels. But I want to emphasize that it is very important for you to understand when something is going wrong or when something happening within your body feels unusual to you, act quickly. A major blockage does not occur instantly; instead a vessel clogs over time. It is during this period of time that you have to be sensitive to subtle changes in your body. These changes are the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. It is during this "grace period" that you must take action so that damage can be averted with lifestyle changes and cardio-protective medications, followed by diagnostic tests to determine the problem.
Prevention is a key word in medicine, and prevention of a heart attack is possible when you act quickly during the time that symptoms are minimal. About half of all heart attacks are preventable in that there are telltale signs that a heart attack is on its way. Patients may not go to the emergency room because they felt their pain was't severe enough to seek help; they may have felt just chest pressure, chest fullness, chest ache, chest burning, or other atypical symptoms. We should learn from these patients that heart attacks have beginnings, and early intervention can actually prevent heart attacks from taking place.
In many cases, the chest discomfort comes and goes, causing patients or those nearby to ignore the early signs and symptoms. Patients don't feel it is enough of an emergency to call 911, or first responders don't act because they are busy and feel that taking time would interfere with their schedule. Ignoring the early signs and symptoms makes these individuals enablers of the heart attack, rather than caregivers.
So, my patient and friend, please know what heart attacks are all about. Read the pages in this "For Patients" section of this website to gain a better understanding of the signs and symptoms and the plan of action to take in the event of an emergency. Be attuned to yourself and become an early heart attack caregiver to yourself and your loved ones. It is with this thought in mind that I ask you to take this pledge that commits you to action when you or someone in your presence has the early warning signs of a heart attack. All who take this pledge can form a network that will one day reduce heart attacks from being the number one health problem in our nation.
Raymond D. Bahr, M.D.
Dr. Raymond Bahr's Articles & Videos
Dr. Raymond Bahr writes a monthly article about the EHAC movement that appears in the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care newsletter. He has also done several videos that outline the importance of Early Heart Attack Care.
- Deputy Heart Attack Program Achieves 500,000 EHAC Pledges
- Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Bahr
- One Mission Requires Many Partners
- Thank you for a Wonderful EHAC Year
- Inspiration on a Mission: Science of Peace Lecture
- Speaking EHAC at IU Health
- EHAC Zooms Past 100,000 Pledges
- Beyond the Doors of a CPC
- Implications of Global EHAC
- EHAC Expansion to Include Hospital Employees
- Q & A with Dr. Raymond Bahr
- Surging Ahead in Heart Attack Care
- February is Heart Month
- He Declared War on Heart Attacks
- How to Foil Death by Heart Attack
- Amazing Results in EHAC
- Winning the Battle on Heart Disease
- How Do You EHAC?
- Recording the EHAC Moment
- Share the EHAC Symbols
- Share the Tools
- Finding the Rosetta Stone
- The Power of An Idea
- Are you a Saver or an Enabler?
- A Golden Opportunity
- Heart Appreciation Month
Meet our Founder
Dr. Raymond Bahr is passionate about cardiac care and preventive education. As the founding father of SCPC, his passion to disseminate lifesaving information is a driving force at SCPC. 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.