Heart Attack Treatments
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.