Symptoms of a Heart Attack

If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the emergency department. The emergency medical personnel will coordinate your care with the nearest Orlando Health hospital, so your care starts before you even enter the emergency room.

 

A heart attack occurs when a piece of plaque that lines an artery blocks blood flow to your heart. The most common symptom for men and women is chest pain and discomfort. However, women are more likely to feel shortness of breath, nausea, and pain in their throat, jaw or arm. Download our guide on heart disease for more information.

 

Other symptoms of a heart attack can include:

You may be more at risk for a heart attack if you:

  • Are obese
  • Smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs
  • Eat an unhealthy diet
  • Have a family history of heart disease
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol

For someone at risk for a heart attack, the following can trigger a heart event:

  • Anger
  • Lack of sleep
  • Overeating
  • Physical exertion
  • Stress

 

Heart Attack Treatment

When you are having a heart attack, the emergency medical personnel that respond to your 911 call begin your treatment immediately. Through coordination with the closest Orlando Hospital, the heart attack program team immediately prepares for your arrival. Our team is ready to help you 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

 

After an assessment in the emergency department, you are usually taken directly to the cardiac catheterization lab to open the clogged artery. Angioplasty is the procedure used to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. During angioplasty, a small balloon or drill is used to open the blockage. Often, a small, metal mesh tube (stent) is placed to keep the artery open.

 

Experts measure a heart attack program's success using “door to balloon” time. This is the time it takes from your arrival in the emergency department until the procedure to open your blocked artery. The average “door to balloon” time at Orlando Health is 60 minutes. That is 30 minutes shorter than the American Heart Association guideline of 90 minutes.

 

Treatment for your heart attack may include:

  • Cardiac catheterization (angioplasty or stent placement)
  • Medication
  • Oxygen

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