Heart Attack Care
The Importance of Early Heart Attack Care
Franciscan Health heart care teams routinely receive the best rankings for successful outcomes. Part of that is because of our focus on early heart attack care. Unlike most programs that promote recognition of the signs and symptoms of an impending heart attack, the early heart attack care initiative encourages early recognition when symptoms may be mild. For the 50% of people experiencing possible heart attack symptoms, the heart attack can be prevented with early treatment - before any damage to the heart occurs.
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense - the "movie heart attack" - where no one doubts 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.
- Learn the signs of an early heart attack.
- Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out and tell a doctor about your symptoms.
- Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives – maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 911 or your emergency response number.
Know the symptoms of early heart attack
As with men, the most common early heart attack symptom for women is chest pain or discomfort. Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. People may experience mild chest symptoms such as pressure, burning, aching or tightness. These symptoms may come and go until finally becoming constant and severe. People may or may not experience any or all of these symptoms but common symptoms of an early heart attack include:
- Feeling of fullness
- Pain that travels down one or both arms
- Shortness of breath
- Jaw pain
- Back pain
- Chest pressure, squeezing or discomfort
What is the single most important thing you can do for you, your family, your friend or neighbor when someone is experiencing signs and symptoms of a heart attack? Dial 911 First … Dial 911 Fast! If needed, give CPR if you are trained, or ask someone who is.
Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving early heart attack care. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive – up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff is also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.