We continue to monitor COVID-19, flu and other respiratory viruses in our communities. Read the most current information about prevention, testing and where to go if you're sick.

COVID-19 Information

Know the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Tanya English was physically fit and led an active lifestyle. Having a heart attack seemed an unlikely event for her. But when the warning signs were there, she knew to seek help.

Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack can make a big difference. The faster someone having a heart attack can get care, the better the outcomes, according to Dr. Linda Stronach, a BJC Medical Group cardiologist practicing at Missouri Baptist.

Only 40% of women who were having a heart attack actually thought they were, as many women have symptoms other than pain in their chest.

Time is muscle, and the faster we can improve blood flow to the impaired heart muscle, the better the outcome for the patient,” Dr. Stronach said.

Men and women experience similar warning signs of a heart attack, Dr. Stronach said. “The most common symptoms are chest discomfort or pain; but women are more likely to have other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.”

Subtle Warning Signs

Heart Attack Warning Signs in Women

  • Pain or pressure in the chest, upper back, jaw or neck
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or cold sweats
  • Unexplained weakness or fatigue
  • Feelings of anxiety, loss of appetite or malaise
  • Sense of impending doom or a feeling that “something isn’t right”

Even though heart disease, including heart attack, remains the leading cause of death in women, women often overlook warning signs and symptoms, thinking they are less life-threatening conditions. Unfortunately, even if the signs are subtle, the consequences of a heart attack can be fatal.

Tanya almost overlooked the signs. While exercising, she felt discomfort in her upper chest but felt better after resting. That evening, she experienced a similar sensation after eating pizza with peppers but dismissed it as heartburn.

“I didn’t think anything was wrong with my heart because I’m healthy and don’t have a family history of heart disease,” Tanya said.  “Plus, I was able to walk and talk without difficulty during the episodes.”

The next day, however, Tanya’s chest discomfort returned and became more intense with arm and shoulder pain.

“I knew that I had to go to the emergency room,” she said. 

Call 9-1-1

Dr. Stronach stresses the importance of calling 9-1-1 if a heart attack is suspected. “Paramedics can provide lifesaving measures on the way to the hospital and alert the emergency room so that the teams are ready to act.”

When a heart attack is identified, the staff in the Emergency Department and cardiologists on the cardiac catheterization team at Missouri Baptist Medical Center work closely together to make sure patients are treated as quickly as possible.

In the case of a severe heart attack, patients may receive emergency treatment in the catheterization lab to open the blocked artery. The Cardiac Cath lab at MoBap uses the latest diagnostic imaging equipment to provide detailed imagery of the heart to determine the need for further treatment.

“If a patient is experiencing a smaller heart attack, we can often stabilize them with medication first before scheduling a cardiac catheterization,” Dr. Stronach said.

An Unexpected Diagnosis

In Tanya’s case, the emergency room team performed an electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood work that confirmed she had a small heart attack. She was admitted to the advanced cardiac care unit for further testing, observation and treatment.

Tanya met with Dr. Stronach, who explained that she suspected Tanya suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), an  uncommon condition that occurs when a tear forms in one of the heart’s blood vessels.

To check Tanya’s heart and to help plan her treatment, structural heart cardiologist Dr. Gus Theodos performed a cardiac catheterization the next day.

During this procedure, he gently advanced a catheter to Tanya’s heart through a vessel in her arm. The catheterization found adequate blood flow to her heart with no blockages, and stenting wasn’t needed.

Getting Back to Normal Life

A day after the procedure, Tanya was placed on a medication regimen and discharged home. She participated in cardiac rehabilitation and continues to follow up with Dr. Stronach. 

Looking back on her experience, Tanya feels fortunate. “Don’t ignore symptoms,” she advised. “I never thought I’d have a heart attack.” 

Dr. Stronach echoes Tanya’s advice. “If something doesn’t feel right, contact your medical provider and seek help. Discounting or ignoring warning signs and symptoms is a risk that is too great to take.” 

Related Heart Content

Find a Doctor or Make an Appointment

Our new search tool will help you choose a doctor or health care provider that is best for you or your family.

Search Now

Stock photo of young family in kitchen preparing healthy meal

Online Heart Health Assessment

Are you at risk for a heart attack? Learn about your risk factors with our online heart health assessment tool and find help for improving your results.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Washington University Heart Failure Center at Missouri Baptist

At the Washington University Heart Failure Center at Missouri Baptist, we use a team approach to develop an individualized plan of care for you to manage your disease.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery Helps Tom Return to the Basketball Court

Tom Caspari thought he was too healthy to have a heart attack.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Cardiac Testing at Missouri Baptist Medical Center

Diagnosing a heart condition often requires a combination of cardiovascular diagnostic and screening tests. These advanced tests can often determine the existence, type and severity of heart disease.

At Missouri Baptist Medical Center, our Cardiac Diagnostics Center is equipped with advanced technology and expertly trained staff to conducts these tests. Your test results will be evaluated by a board-certified cardiologist on staff at MoBap and discussed with your physician to tailor a treatment plan for your specific condition.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Mitral Valve Replacement

When Tina needed a new mitral valve, she benefited from BJC HealthCare’s collaborative approach to care that connected her with a multidisciplinary team of heart specialists. Her journey included seamless coordination between medical teams at two BJC HealthCare facilities: Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Missouri Baptist Medical Center (MoBap).

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Dr. Stewart Gets a “Second Chance at Life” After Heart Attack

Todd Stewart, MD, is no stranger to critically ill patients and life-saving procedures. As a spinal neurosurgeon and chief of neurosurgery at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, it’s all in a day’s work. But it came as a shock when he suffered a life-threatening heart attack last year.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

MoBap Celebrates 1,000 TAVR Case Milestone

On December 6, 2022, Missouri Baptist Medical Center performed its 1,000th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

“We are proud to reach this milestone,” says Michael Mauney, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon on staff at Missouri Baptist. “MoBap was among the first medical centers in the nation to adopt this procedure following FDA approval in Fall 2011.”

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure for replacing a stenotic (tight) aortic valve in which the aortic valve narrows, reducing blood flow from the heart to the aorta. This procedure can also replace failed artificial aortic and mitral valves. TAVR is a treatment option to be considered for those with severe aortic stenosis, including many with worn-out surgical valves.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Palliative Care: Helping Patients Live Their Best Lives

Lynn’s husband Steve was diabetic and diagnosed with end stage renal disease 11 years ago. Without warning, Steve’s condition turned critical three years ago. Desperate for guidance and strength, Lynn was connected to April and the Palliative Care team at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Early Heart Attack Care

Did you know that heart attacks have beginnings and these beginning signs occur in more than half of all heart attack patients? Learn the important early signs and symptoms.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right
Deborah Quesenberry volleys during paddleball.

An Unexpected Diagnosis

When Deborah Quesenberry attended the Missouri Baptist Heart Fair in February 2017, she wasn’t expecting to have a diagnosis of a serious health problem.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Her Heart Health

A woman's heart is different. Many women may not experience chest pain. Their warning signs are non-specific and often easily overlooked. 

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Treating Coronary Artery Chronic Total Occlusion

The treatment options at the Missouri Baptist Heart Center continue to advance, and our patients have access to the latest technologies and treatment options. 

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Recovery is a Journey

Scott Winder had been having trouble breathing and wasn’t sleeping well. Like many people do, he dismissed the symptoms until one day at work, his suddenly racing heart, sweating and worsening breathing problems sent him to the  Emergency Department at Parkland Health Center in Farmington.

Scott walked through the doors of the emergency room and collapsed.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

The transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure allows a team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to insert a new valve inside a diseased valve without open heart surgery. The new valve is put in place through a catheter that is inserted through the groin or between the ribs. 

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Heart Valve Center: Your Heart in Good Hands

If you have been diagnosed with a heart valve problem, you are not alone.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Losing More Than Sleep

Everybody suffers occasionally from not getting enough sleep. But a lack of sleep can do more than just make you feel tired the next day. Chronic sleep problems can be a contributing factor to more serious health problems.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Arrhythmia Center

At the Arrhythmia Center at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, we want to help you understand everything there is to know about arrhythmia, especially finding the right treatment just for you. Our goal is to keep you and your heart healthy.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Heart Health Tips

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  There are several risk factors that contribute to heart disease.  Some risk factors, including gender, age and family history are uncontrollable, while other risk factors can be modified with lifestyle changes.  Learn how you can make changes to improve your heart health.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Starting Your Heart Health Journey

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for "men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States." However, heart disease can be present with no symptoms until a significant event happens, like a stroke or heart attack.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right
Melissa and Chris post on the sofa with family photos all around.

Early Intervention Makes the Difference

Melissa Ham’s voice is still a little shaky when she recalls being told that her husband, Chris, had about a 1-in-3 chance of surviving the heart attack that occurred at their home on July 13, 2016.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Getting Clara to the Beach

Clara Freeman anxiously anticipated attending her oldest granddaughter's beach wedding.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Recipes for Your Health

Tasted, tested and analyzed by dietitians at Missouri Baptist Medical Center

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Mending Hearts

Tracy Pick and her mom, Betty Mesplay, are no strangers to heart procedures. But this time the mother-daughter duo would be going through recovery together.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Cardiac Surgeons Discuss Valve Disease and New Treatment Methods

Cardiac surgeons at MoBap talk about valve disease and new treatment methods, including minimally invasive surgery.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right