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How Medical Assistants Help Heart Patients

Published: February 13, 2023

More than 695,000 people die of heart disease every year. But as a Medical Assistant, you can help a heart patient have a better shot at a healthy life. From what you do day-to-day at a medical practice to how you educate your patients, you can make a difference.

Medical Assistants Take Vital Signs that Can Detect Cardiovascular Disease

At the beginning of each visit, your job is to measure patient vital signs. This includes pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. These vital signs offer important information about the patient—not just in the moment—but over time. Pulse rate can point toward arrhythmia, where your hearts beats too quickly or too slowly. By measuring vital signs over time, you can help a doctor chart a patient’s progress or detect warning signs before it’s too late. For example, consistent high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack if left untreated. Vital signs can also show a patient’s progress as they proceed through treatment.

Medical Assistants Perform EKGs for Heart Patients

An electrocardiogram, or EKG, measures the heart’s electrical activity. It’s taken with a device known as an electrocardiograph, which measures the voltage through electrodes that attach to the skin. As a Medical Assistant, you can be trained to administer the test so a physician can read the output and assess the patient’s heart function. EKGs can show the doctor:

  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Size and position of a heart’s chambers
  • Blocked or narrowed arteries
  • Evidence of previous heart attacks

Medical Assistants Educate Cardiovascular Patients

Under the guidance of a physician, you can provide heart patients with information that can help them live healthier lives. You can talk to them about diet and exercise. Teach them about foods to eat and those to avoid. For example, you might provide them with pamphlets explaining the perils of highly processed foods, fatty meats, and fried food. You can explain the benefits of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. You can also offer healthy tips about stress reduction, sleep, and exercise, while reminding them about the dangers of smoking. And you can provide a list of medications that might negatively affect their condition or interact with medications they take.

Medical Assistants Provide Compassion to Heart Patients

Going to the doctor can be stressful, but you can help patients feel welcomed, cared for, and heard. Offer a pleasant smile and a kind demeanor and you’ll put your patients at ease. Explain what will happen to them in an exam and answer any questions within your scope of practice. Let them know what’s coming next; the more prepared they feel, the comfortable they will be. After they meet with the doctor, end the visit with empathy. Listen to their questions and concerns and relay them to the doctor if necessary. Your care, support, and medical knowledge can make a difference.

If you want to help heart patients, and others who suffer from illness or disease, a career as a Medical Assistant may be the right fit for you. At Charter College, we offer a Certificate in Medical Assistant that can prepare you for an entry-level career in the field. Our instructors have years of healthcare experience and are dedicated to helping you succeed. We work to put you to work. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form for more information.