Hammersmith Hospital is home to one of London’s eight heart attack centres, providing specialist 24 hour emergency care and acute intervention for anyone suspected of having a heart attack or an acute heart rhythm disorder in the west London area. To ensure you get the best possible specialist care when a heart attack is suspected an ambulance may take you to a heart attack centre rather than your nearest emergency department.

Conditions and treatment

When you arrive at the centre, a number of tests will be performed. These typically include blood tests, electrocardiograms (ECGs) and echocardiography. If it is found that you are having a heart attack, a procedure called coronary angiography is usually performed to look at the arteries supplying the heart. If coronary angiography confirms a significant narrowing or blockage, then a stent is inserted into the artery (angioplasty) to open the artery up.

In addition to suspected heart attack and acute coronary syndromes, we also have a primary arrhythmia service where suspected heart rhythm disorders are assessed and treated. These include both slow and fast heart rhythm disorders, which may require medications, temporary pacing wires or pacemakers, controlled delivery of electrical shock through the heart and/or ablation of the source of origin of the arrhythmia.

Following these emergency procedures, patients are carefully monitored during their recovery on one of the cardiology wards with ongoing care and rehabilitation.