Heart Attack

When every moment counts

Novant Health is has been recognized by the American Heart Association for helping raise the standard for heart attack treatment. If you experience chest pain and other symptoms of a heart attack, always call 911 immediately.

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Heart Attack Treatments

Patient being transported in a helicopter

Know the signs of a heart attack

The most common heart attack signs are:

  • Sensation in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and returns; often described as an uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain
  • Chest pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms
  • Chest discomfort paired with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath

Less common heart attack signs include unusual chest, stomach or abdominal pain and any of the following without accompanying chest pain:

  • Heart palpitations, cold sweat or paleness
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue

Call 911 immediately

Because a heart attack is a life-threatening event, knowing when to call 911 for chest pain is critical. If you suspect that you or someone you're with is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Take action to help

While waiting for emergency help to arrive, there are steps you can take, including:

  • Check for responsiveness. This can be as simple as tapping the person's shoulder and shouting, "Are you okay?" Also, check to see if they're breathing.
  • Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If you haven't completed CPR training, medical experts recommend that you avoid attempting rescue breathing and focus on chest compressions.
  • Use an automated external defibrillator (AED). If an AED is close at hand, use it immediately. Turn the device on and follow the step-by-step instructions.