Chest Pain Treatment

Call 911

For possible heart attack symptoms and treatment, see Heart Attack Treatment.

For Angina

1. Treat With Nitroglycerin

If the person gets angina and has been prescribed nitroglycerin:

  • Dissolve 1 nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue (or use nitroglycerin spray under the tongue).
  • Wait 5 minutes.
  • If the person still has angina, call 911.

If the person has been diagnosed with chronic stable angina:

  • Dissolve 1 nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue (or use nitroglycerin spray under the tongue).
  • Repeat every 5 minutes until the person has taken 3 tablets in 15 minutes.
  • If the person still has angina after 3 doses, call 911.

2. Follow Up

If the person goes to the hospital:

  • Inform the person’s doctor about the chest pain and ER visit.

For GERD (Acid Reflux)

Call 911 if: The person has possible heart attack symptoms, such as shortness of breath, flushed sweating, nausea or vomiting, or arm or jaw pain. Heart attacks can be mistaken for GERD.

1. Treat With Over-the-Counter Antacids

2. Follow Up

  • If the person goes to the hospital, an emergency department doctor will examine the person and run tests to see if the chest pain stems from a heart attack or another cause. Tests may include an electrocardiogram (ECG), chest X-ray, and blood tests.
  • Inform the person’s doctor about the chest pain and ER visit.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on January 23, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: “Call 911 -- Before It’s Too Late,” “Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease.”

Merck Manual: “Acute Coronary Syndromes.”

Chest Pain Information from eMedicineHealth:

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