Signs of a Heart Attack
Minutes matter! If you experience any of the signs below, call 9-1-1 immediately. Calling 9-1-1 is the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.
||Pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain for more than a few minutes, or goes away and returns
||In one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
|Shortness of Breath:
||With or without chest discomfort
||Cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
Learn More About Heart Attack Signs & Symptoms
You may experience mild symptoms, but it's important to act on them immediately by calling 9-1-1. For 50% of people experiencing mild symptoms, the heart attack can be prevented with early treatment before any damage to the heart occurs. Mild chest symptoms can also include pressure, burning, aching or tightness that may come and go until finally becoming constant and severe.
Why Calling 9-1-1 is Important
Every year, almost 400,000 people experience the deadliest type of heart attack, known as a STEMI. Unfortunately, a significant number don't receive timely access to appropriate treatments. Calling 9-1-1 allows treatment of a heart attack to begin even before the patient arrives at the hospital.
The saying, 'time is muscle', means that the quicker an expert cardiac doctor can open up a heart attack patient's blocked artery, the less damage there is to the heart muscle and gives the patient the best chance for a full recovery.
Ambulances in Montgomery County and Prince George's County use a communications system called LifeNet, that enables heart attack patients to get faster diagnosis and treatment when they arrive by ambulance to the hospitals. The system allows emergency medical technicians to send electrocardiogram (EKG) results from the ambulance to hospital staff to view before the patient arrives.
"The LifeNet system allows us to receive and view test results to more accurately understand what kind of cardiac emergency a patient is experiencing and activate our cath lab teams for that patient’s immediate treatment upon arrival," said Dr. Drew White, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Washington Adventist Hospital.
Read more about how two local people survived life threatening heart attacks by calling 9-1-1.
Heart valve disease occurs when the heart valves do not work the way they should, either not allowing enough blood to move forward or letting blood leak back into the heart. Left untreated, heart valve disease can reduce the quality of life and become life-threatening.
You can have a problem valve for decades and not have any symptoms, or symptoms that come on so slowly you barely notice them. In other cases, you may be experiencing one or more of the following:
- Excessive tiredness, especially as the day goes on
- A fast, pounding or irregular heart beat
- A fluttering feeling in your chest
- Shortness of breath and/or difficulty catching your breath
- Weakness or dizziness
- Swollen ankles, feet or abdomen
- Rapid weight gain
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or are worried about heart valve disease, schedule an appointment with one of Washington Adventist Hospital’s experienced cardiac doctors.