Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have any of the following
Chest pain that has not gone away within 5 minutes after you have
taken one nitroglycerin and/or rested. After calling
911, continue to stay on the phone with
the emergency operator. He or she will give you further instructions. See
how to take nitroglycerin.
Chest pain or discomfort that is crushing or squeezing, feels
like pressure on the chest, and lasts more than 5 minutes, especially if it
occurs with any of the following symptoms:
"I never thought it could happen to me."
That's how Rose Rench reacted when doctors told her she was having a heart
attack. At age 46, Rench was bewildered when she suddenly couldn't catch her
breath while out for a walk on a sunny spring day. "I was young, I was 130
pounds, and I'd quit smoking a month before. I was healthy. But I couldn't
Rench tells WebMD that she somehow drove herself home, but couldn't rest;
her mind raced as she tried to gasp for breath. "I thought maybe I...
911 or other emergency services, you
should chew 1 adult-strengthaspirin (325 mg) or 2 to 4 low-dose (81 mg) aspirin if you are
not allergic to aspirin or unable to take aspirin for some other reason. By
calling 911 and taking an ambulance to the
hospital, you may be able to start treatment before you arrive at the hospital.
If any complications occur along the way, ambulance personnel are trained to
evaluate and treat them.
If an ambulance is not readily available,
have someone else drive you to the emergency room. Do not drive yourself to the
If you witness a person becoming unconscious, call
911 or other emergency services and start
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The emergency operator can coach you on
how to perform CPR. For more information, see the CPR section in the topic
Dealing With Emergencies.
Contact your doctor immediately if you have
new, more frequent, or severe episodes of chest pain or
discomfort, which may mean that you have an increased risk for a heart attack.
Talk to your doctor if you have:
Chest pain or discomfort for the first time with features similar
to those of
coronary artery disease. See the Symptoms section of
Episodes of chest pain or discomfort and your work involves
responsibility for the lives of other people (for example, if you are a pilot,
bus driver, or sole caregiver for small children).
Many people are unsure whether they are having a heart attack, and so
they take a "wait and see" approach. Heart attack symptoms often vary. People
often discount their symptoms if they do not fit into the expected "extreme
chest pain" scenario. Some people are embarrassed or don't want to bother
others by calling for help if they think it may not be a heart attack. Even if
you're not sure it's a heart attack, you should still have it checked out.
Rapid treatment can save your life.
Who to See
To see if you are at risk for heart
disease, have symptoms of coronary artery disease, or require long-term care
for existing heart disease, see your
family doctor or
internist. For diagnosis of coronary artery disease,
you may see a
cardiologist. For ongoing care of stable angina, you
will likely see your family doctor or an internist. For surgical intervention,
you will be referred to a