Heart Attack Information

What to Do When You Suspect a Heart Attack

In the event of a heart attack, or even if you are just experiencing mild symptoms, call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY and ask them to take you to Emory! The faster you get treatment, the less damage your heart will undergo.

Do NOT drive to the hospital and only let someone else drive you when you cannot reach Emergency Medical Services (EMS), ambulances are equipped to begin treatment on the way to the hospital.


Becoming aware of key symptoms and signs are important so you can be treated as soon as possible to avoid significant damage. Signs and symptoms of a heart attack can differ between people and between episodes of heart attacks. In some people, symptoms can occur suddenly or slowly over a period of time. Others can experience mild to no symptoms at all before they experience a heart attack, referred to as a silent heart attack. Keeping that in mind, there are some general and usual signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest Pain - an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center or left side of the chest that can be mild or strong. It can last for a few minutes or keep going and coming back. All chest pain should be checked by a doctor.
  • Those that have CHD frequently experience angina as well, chest pain that occurs when the person is active and usually goes away with rest. However, the difference is that it does not cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
  • Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.
  • Sleep problems, fatigue (tiredness), and lack of energy

Women more often experience atypical symptoms, such as:

  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath and fatigue