Your ability to recover from -- or survive -- a heart attack depends upon how quickly you receive medical treatment.
The Most Common Heart Attack Symptoms
- Chest discomfort -- pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain
- Upper body discomfort -- pain or discomfort in one or both arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw or stomach
- Shortness of breath -- with or without chest discomfort
- Cold sweats
If you, or someone with you, are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1.
Dr. John Hess, cardiologist at MoBap, explains why it's important to go to a heart center with the latest technology for chest pains.
A Woman's Heart Is Different
Like men, women’s most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort. However, many may not have this symptom, therefore ladies may overlook the other symptoms of a pending heart attack. Their warning signs are non-specific and often easily overlooked. Remember, only 40% of women having a heart attack actually realized they were, because they didn't have chest pain.
Women are more likely than men to experience the other common symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Woman's Warning Signs:
- Pain or pressure in the chest, upper back, jaw or neck
- Shortness of breath
- Flu-like symptoms: nausea or vomiting, cold sweats
- Unexplained weakness or fatigue
- Feelings of anxiety, loss of appetite, malaise
- Sense of impending doom
Don't Wait, Call 9-1-1
If you think you might be having a heart attack, follow these 3 critical, yet simple steps.
- Call 911 immediately
- Chew 1 full aspirin, slowly*
- Wait for emergency services
Your instinct might be to drive yourself or a loved one to the emergency room yourself. But it's important that you wait for emergency services. Not only can they help treat you on your way to the ER, you can be treated much faster and more effectively when the appropriate hospital has been notified and is awaiting your arrival. Remember, quick treatment can minimize the damage to your heart.
*One full aspirin is 325mg or the equivalent of four baby aspirin. Do not take aspirin if you have a history of aspirin allergy or bleeding.
Emergency Services and Our Catheterization Lab
Studies show that if the blocked arteries that cause a heart attack are reopened within a short period of time from the onset of a heart attack, patients have a better survival rate. As a result, leading hospitals like Missouri Baptist are focused on opening blocked arteries within 90 minutes of when a patient arrives at the ER.
Angioplasty is the artery-opening procedure performed by cardiologists in a catheterization lab. The cardiologist inserts a thin wire inside the blocked artery, inflating a small balloon that pushes the clot against the artery wall, restoring blood flow. The time it takes from the heart attack until the cardiac catheterization is critical because heart muscle can be damaged quickly without adequate blood flow.
Because angioplasty is 90 to 95 percent effective, the Emergency Department and cardiac catheterization teams at Missouri Baptist work closely together to ensure patients are treated as quickly as possible.
For more information on heart attack treatment, call us at 314-996-3627 or contact us online.