Symptoms and Signs of Heart Attack

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021

Doctor's Notes on Heart Attack

A heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to inadequate oxygen supply. 

Often, people may have no symptoms of a heart attack. When symptoms do occur, classic symptoms of a heart attack include

  • chest pain (may be described as tightness, fullness, pressure, or an ache) associated with shortness of breath,
  • profuse sweating, and
  • nausea.

Other symptoms of a heart attack may include

  • indigestion,
  • jaw ache,
  • the pain only in the shoulders or arms,
  • shortness of breath, or
  • nausea and vomiting.

In women and the elderly, heart attack symptoms can be uncommon and vague and can be easily missed. In some cases, the only complaint may be extreme weakness or fatigue. If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 immediately. 

What Is the Treatment for a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. 

A heart attack is treated with medications and procedural therapies. 

Medications used to treat a heart attack include;

Procedural therapies for a heart attack include:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Angioplasty or stent placement
  • Cardiac bypass surgery

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.