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First Aid & Emergencies

Heart Attack Treatment

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 Call 911

1. Know Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Chest discomfort that may last more than a few minutes or go away and come back. It may feel like squeezing, fullness, pressure, or pain.
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper body, including arm, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or below the breastbone.
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (with or without chest pain).
  • Sweating or "cold sweat."
  • Indigestion, heartburn, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Light-headedness, dizziness, or extreme weakness.
  • Anxiety or rapid or irregular heartbeats.

2. Wait for Emergency Help to Arrive

  • Do not drive to the hospital unless you have no other option. Ambulance personnel can start care as soon as they arrive.
  • If there is no history of aspirin allergy or bleeding, emergency response may ask the person to chew one 325 mg aspirin slowly.

3. Follow Up

  • At the hospital, an emergency department doctor will examine the person and run tests to see if 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 James Beckerman, MD, FACC on November 11, 2013

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