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You may be having a heart attack if you have any or all of these symptoms:

  • Pain, pressure, fullness, discomfort, or squeezing in the center of the chest
  • Stabbing chest pain
  • Radiating pain to shoulder, neck, back, arm, or jaw
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Pounding heartbeats (palpitations) or feeling extra heartbeats
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or severe indigestion
  • Sweating for no apparent reason
  • Dizziness with weakness
  • Sudden extreme fatigue

Women often present with other symptoms, including:

  • Pounding heartbeats (palpitations) or feeling extra heartbeats
  • Nausea, vomiting, or severe indigestion
  • Back pain
  • Extreme tiredness

If you suspect a heart attack:

  1. Call 9-1-1
  2. Say "I am having a heart attack"
  3. Chew an uncoated aspirin right away as this can reduce damage to the heart muscle.
  4. Go to the nearest medical facility via ambulance with 24-hour emergency cardiac care. Do not drive yourself. If you're not sure that the pain you are experiencing is serious, it is best to go to the emergency room to find out.
  5. Get treatment quickly. Clot-buster medicine and coronary angioplasty work best if provided after the first signs of distress, so don't wait.
  6. Get to the emergency room without delay. Every minute counts!

What to expect in the hospital emergency room:

  • The doctor will order an electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood work to see if you have had a heart attack. Even if your EKG is normal, more testing is necessary. A number of new tests make it possible to diagnose a heart attack more quickly and accurately than ever before.
  • Emergency room doctors have been trained to diagnose heart attacks quickly and to start treatments rapidly to prevent damage to your heart muscle.
  • Be clear, objective, and persistent when describing symptoms and insist on the best care for your heart.

Emergency cardiac care includes:

  • New blood tests are now available to diagnose a heart attack more quickly and accurately.
  • Getting treatment quickly at the first sign of distress can often prevent more damage from occurring to the heart, or even prevent a heart attack that has not yet occurred. The American College of Cardiology recommends a ‘door-to-balloon’ time of less than 90 minutes as a best practices standard of care. This means that the patient’s blocked cardiac artery should be opened allowing the blood to flow within 90 minutes of arrival to the hospital emergency department. Beebe Healthcare consistently performs below this timeframe.