Symptoms: Take Immediate Action
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but many heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Don't wait too long before getting help. Signs of a heart attack:
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, or squeezing pain in the center of the chest
- Lasts more than a few minutes
- Can spread to the shoulders, neck, or arms
- Can be accompanied by lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath
What to do
- Call 911
- Sit or lie down
- Do NOT go to the hospital in a private car. You might need emergency care on the way to the hospital – which ambulance staff can provide.
Quick treatment minimizes heart muscle damage and can save your life!
A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood through a coronary artery is completely blocked. Most of the time, a heart attack causes permanent damage to your heart muscle, which is why it's also called a myocardial infarction or MI. Myocardial means "heart muscle," and infarction means "tissue death".
Most heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease (CAD), the buildup of a material called plaque in the coronary arteries. This buildup can eventually block the flow of blood in the artery, or cause blood clots that block the artery. A less common cause of heart attack is a spasm in the artery
Heart attack pain can be similar to angina pain (shown in red and orange), but the pain associated with a heart attack is usually more severe and prolonged.
Heart Attack In Depth
Learn more about heart attack from Intermountain's Patient Education Library:
Diagnostic Tests for Heart Attack
Treatments for Heart Attack
Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatments for this condition include:
Services and Programs
Services and programs at Intermountain Heart Institute for heart attack patients: