A heart attack happens when a blood vessel leading to your heart is blocked. When your heart doesn’t receive blood, it causes the muscle to die. You need immediate treatment to save your life and prevent damage to your heart. That's why it's so important to know the signs and get help right away.
Most heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease — a buildup of plaque (a fatty substance) that forms on blood vessel walls, causing them to narrow (atherosclerosis). The plaque can break open, forming a blood clot that stops blood from reaching your heart. Heart attacks are diagnosed with an electrocardiogram, a noninvasive test that measures your heart's electrical signals.
Know Heart Attack Symptoms
If you or someone else has any of these heart attack signs, call 911 right away — it’s a matter of life and death:
- Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or it goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Difficulty breathing. This can happen with or without chest pain or pressure.
- Lightheadedness, nausea, and sweating.
Although chest pain is a common symptom, some people don’t experience it during a heart attack.
Women’s Heart Attack Warning Signs
The most common heart attack symptom for women is chest pain or pressure, but women are more likely than men to experience:
- Indigestion, nausea or vomiting
- Jaw or back pain
- Shortness of breath
- Sleep disturbances
- Weakness, fatigue, body aches, or an overall feeling of illness (without chest pain)
Why Chest Pain Center Accreditation Matters
As a Chest Pain Center, we have a highly coordinated approach that lets us provide timely, expert care during the early stages of a heart attack — when treatment is most effective. Our trained, skilled team is ready to jump into action the moment you arrive at the hospital.
Heart attack treatment is measured in door-to-balloon time — from your arrival in the emergency room to the moment we begin treatment. We can treat heart attacks using interventional approaches, such as angioplasty (percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI). The national average door-to-balloon time is less than 90 minutes — ours is less than 50.
Emergency Heart Care
Our cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, and surgeons work together to provide lifesaving heart care, from minimally invasive angioplasty to heart bypass (CABG) surgery.
We use the least-invasive approaches, including robotic-assisted surgery, off-pump (beating heart) surgery, and hybrid revascularization to treat multiple blocked arteries.
You can count on our highly skilled team to deliver lifesaving treatment.