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Heart attack treatment

A heart attack is a medical emergency

You can help ensure your safety and the safety of your family and friends by knowing the warning signs.

Classic heart attack warning signs
  • 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
If you are experiencing warning signs of a heart attack, call now!


Less common heart attack 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

A heart attack is a medical emergency that shouldn’t be taken lightly. At Novant Health, we’re dedicated to providing life-saving heart attack care, when and where you need it. Our nationally-recognized chest pain centers and highly-skilled, specially-trained physicians and staff can quickly pinpoint your condition and use the latest treatment methods to provide you with the best possible outcome and the shortest possible recovery time.

Chest pain centers

Our accredited chest pain centers are ready to provide rapid-response treatment in the event that you or a loved one experience chest pain or any other heart attack warning sign. Using advanced diagnostic tools, our team works quickly to determine whether or not you are having a heart attack. If you are, you will be taken immediately to a cath lab, where we will open the blockage and stop the heart attack in its tracks.

Quality outcomes

Our heart attack patients have quality outcomes. That's because we focus on quality in everything that we do. We compare our heart and vascular care to that of other hospitals across the country to ensure that we are practicing medicine at the highest-possible level. In many cases, we are leading the way on a national scale.

To learn more about our quality measures »

Mission Lifeline

We participate in statewide initiatives to improve the care of heart attack victims in North Carolina. Our care of heart attack patients exceeds national standards and serves as a model for others. Mission Lifeline, a project of the American Heart Association (AHA), is tackling heart attack care across the country. According to the AHA, a person having a heart attack needs to have blocked arteries reopened within 90 minutes to have the best chance of preserving the heart muscle and ensuring a full recovery. At Novant Health, our median time is 68 minutes.

Women and heart attacks

For women, the signs and symptoms of a heart attack can be very different than those for men – most women aren't aware of that. According to the AHA, fewer than 8 percent of women view heart disease as being a major threat to a woman's health. Here are the facts every woman should know:

  • Many times, women having a heart attack don't have classic signs. They may experience abdominal or mid-back pain, jaw pain, indigestion or extreme fatigue rather than radiating chest pain.
  • Most women – more than 50 percent – don't realize that smoking will lower the age at which they might have a heart attack.
  • Women with risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes are 2.5 to 3 times more likely to die from sudden cardiac arrest.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Novant Health facility in your area.