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Heart attack warning signs

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When it comes to a heart attack, every second counts

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack are key to saving someone’s life. If you, or a loved one, experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately and ask to be taken to the closest emergency department. Novant Health hospitals are in the nation’s top 10 percent for heart attack treatment and our chest pain centers have the highest accreditation level.

If you experience the symptoms of a heart attack, call


Classic warning signs and symptoms
  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
Less common warning signs
  • Atypical chest pain, stomach or abdominal pain
  • Nausea or dizziness (without chest pain)
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing (without chest pain)
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
  • Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness

To learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack, visit our online health library.