A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, most often by a build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the coronary arteries. The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. Restoring that blood flow quickly is key to preventing permanent damage... and to surviving.
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, and it will be obvious what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.
Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack could save your life!
For men and women, the most common symptom is chest pain or pressure. Women often have other or additional symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea and back or jaw pain.
If you think you might be having a heart attack, call 911. Don’t delay! Minutes matter! An ambulance is almost always the fastest and safest way to get to the hospital. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin tests and treatment when they arrive.
Mercy will be here for you in this or any other life-and-death situation. Our cardiac staff will immediately determine if you’re having a heart attack and take all the steps necessary to limit any further damage. Our heart care team will develop a specific treatment plan for you with lifestyle changes that can keep your heart healthy.
If you go to the hospital in an ambulance, treatment will be started right away to restore blood flow and limit damage to the heart. You may be given:
At the hospital, you may receive: