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Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Heart attack is a life-and-death emergency—every second counts. If you see or have any of the listed symptoms, immediately call 911 or your emergency response number. Not all these signs occur in every heart attack. Sometimes they go away and return. If some occur, get help fast! Today heart attack victims can benefit from new medications and treatments unavailable to patients in years past.

Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 911 or your emergency response number.

Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives—maybe your own.

Classic Symptoms of a Heart Attack:

  • The sudden onset of severe crushing, tearing or squeezing chest pain or pressure that can radiate to the arm, neck or back
  • Can be associated with shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness or nausea
  • “I feel like there is an elephant sitting on my chest!”

Atypical Symptoms of a Heart Attack:

  • Intermittent chest pain
  • Mild to severe pain or a sense of pressure in other parts of your body—stomach, arm, throat or jaw
  • Stomach pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Suddenly breaking out into a cold sweat

If these signs are present CALL 911. Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.


 Physicians on Heart Care

  • Dr. Soldo on Heart Attacks
  • Dr. Baruch on Heart Attack Symptoms