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Forbes Heart and Vascular Center

Heart Attack FAQs

Q. What are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack?
A. Chest discomfort, pressure or pain. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Information retrieved from www.americanheart.org

Q. What should I do if I experience one or more of these signs or symptoms?
A. If you experience any of these call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY.

Q. Should I always call 9-1-1 or can I drive myself or a loved one to the hospital?
A. You should always call 9-1-1 if you experience any of the signs or symptoms of a heart attack.

Q. What should I bring with me?
A. You should bring all your medications in their original bottles with you. If you have a copy of an electrocardiogram it would also be helpful to bring this.

Q. Why is it always necessary to call 9-1-1?
A. When you call 9-1-1 they will dispatch a trained team consisting of paramedics and emergency medical technicians. They will be able to monitor your heart and assess your condition and also begin treatment in consultation with a physician at the receiving hospital.

In many cases they will also be able to transmit a 12-lead electrocardiogram to the receiving hospital for interpretation by the emergency room physician


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