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When is heartburn an emergency?

ANSWER

Heartburn is usually a minor problem that goes away over time. But if you also have other symptoms, it could be a sign that something more serious is wrong. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room if:

  • It hurts to swallow.
  • You feel like you’re choking.
  • You have black, tarry-looking bowel movements.
  • Your mouth or throat hurt when you eat.
  • Your voice is hoarse.
  • Your vomit contains blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • You have trouble breathing.

From: Heartburn Relief Tips WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

AHRQ: “Treatment Options for GERD or Acid Reflux Disease: A Review of the Research for Adults.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Heartburn.”

American College of Gastroenterology: “Acid Reflux.”

American Gastroenterological Association: “Understanding Heartburn and Reflux Disease.”

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: “Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.”

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists: “Cimetidine.”

Brahm, N. , April 2011. The Consultant Pharmacist

Cleveland Clinic: “GERD and Asthma.”

FDA: “Possible Increased Risk of Bone Fractures with Certain Antacid Drugs.”

Hye-kyung J. , January 2010. Journal of Neurogastroenterol Motility

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: “Exercise & GI Symptoms.”

Katz, P. , 2013. American Journal of Gastroenterology

NHLBI: “What are the symptoms of a heart attack?”

NIDDK: “Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Adults.”

Thompson, W. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Reviewed by James Beckerman on May 2, 2019

SOURCES:

AHRQ: “Treatment Options for GERD or Acid Reflux Disease: A Review of the Research for Adults.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Heartburn.”

American College of Gastroenterology: “Acid Reflux.”

American Gastroenterological Association: “Understanding Heartburn and Reflux Disease.”

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: “Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.”

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists: “Cimetidine.”

Brahm, N. , April 2011. The Consultant Pharmacist

Cleveland Clinic: “GERD and Asthma.”

FDA: “Possible Increased Risk of Bone Fractures with Certain Antacid Drugs.”

Hye-kyung J. , January 2010. Journal of Neurogastroenterol Motility

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: “Exercise & GI Symptoms.”

Katz, P. , 2013. American Journal of Gastroenterology

NHLBI: “What are the symptoms of a heart attack?”

NIDDK: “Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Adults.”

Thompson, W. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Reviewed by James Beckerman on May 2, 2019

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Is it heartburn or a heart attack?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.