Chest Pain is Serious. Go to the Emergency Department

October 11, 2013



The Emergency Department entrance at

Mercy Hospital Washington.

Washington, Mo. – If you’re feeling pressure or squeezing in the chest, you may be having a heart attack.

Heart-attack related symptoms include:

  • Chest pain, pressure, squeezing, fullness, indigestion
  • Pain may be in shoulders or back or into the jaw
  • Pain may travel down one or both arms
  • Shortness of breath, nausea, severe fatigue or anxiety 

“If you’re having these symptoms, call 911 and go to the nearest emergency department. Emergency departments are equipped to care for serious, life-threatening health issues,” said Mercy Clinic cardiologist John Mohart, MD.

Fast and appropriate medical care is the best way to increase a person’s chances for survival and ensure a strong recovery, Dr. Mohart said.

Mercy Hospital Washington is staffed by cardiologists and certified clinicians who work in the emergency department, chest pain center and cardiac catheterization lab. There is no place in the region better equipped to respond to patients with chest pain. It is accredited with the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

The hospital works in partnership with area emergency medical services. When people call 911, ambulance personnel are in constant contact with the emergency department and cardiologist. Patients receive care and tests while they are in transit to the hospital. If the diagnosis calls for it, they are taken directly to the hospital’s cardiac cath lab. In the cath lab, a Mercy Clinic interventional cardiologist will clear the blocked arteries that are causing the heart attack.

“If tests don’t give a clear indication of what’s causing the chest pain, but indicators suggest it could be heart related, patients may be moved to the chest pain observation unit for further testing,” Dr. Mohart said.

Mercy offers different levels of care to treat patients’ health care needs. In addition to heart attack symptoms, if people are having these types of symptoms, they should seek care at their closest emergency department:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness or loss of coordination or balance
  • Sudden blurred vision;
  • Numbness in the face, arm or leg
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Deep cuts or bleeding that won't stop
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • Severe burns
  • Seizures 

For less serious illnesses, patients should see their physicians or go to a walk-in clinic. Mercy has three walk-in clinics in the area: Mercy Urgent Care at 20 Legends Parkway in Eureka and Mercy Convenience Care Clinics at 901 Patients First Drive in Washington and 1935 Prairie Dell Road in Union.

Mercy Hospital Washington is a member of Mercy. It is a 187-bed hospital located just 50 miles southwest of St. Louis, Mo., and serves all or parts of Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, St. Charles, St. Louis and Warren counties. The Hospital offers comprehensive emergency, heart, cancer, surgical, obstetric and pediatric services and physicians who are part of Mercy Clinic.  


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