Am I Having a Heart Attack?
Chest pain isn't a warning sign to ignore. It could be heartburn; it could be a heart attack, or it could be the sign of another condition altogether. Don't panic. Just act. Call 911 if you think you are having a heart attack. Time is muscle. Other symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- Chest pressure or discomfort
- Nausea or vomiting
- Discomfort in your arms, chest, or back
- Shortness of breath
Speed is the key to diagnosis and, if you need it, treatment that leads to your full recovery. Count on the heart specialists at Banner Health to quickly assess your symptoms and deliver the treatment you need — right when you need it.
What Should I Do if I Have Chest Pain?
Anytime you experience chest pain, it can be scary. It’s true chest pain isn't always a symptom of heart attack. It may be heartburn, angina or another heart condition, but it's best to let a medical professional make that call.
Banner Health emergency department doctors know how to recognize the difference. When you need it, we deliver life-saving treatments that prevent more damage to your heart.
At our accredited Chest Pain Centers, we're ready to diagnose and treat heart attack and chest pain. In addition, our Cardiac Alert Program lets us get a head start on your treatment while you are in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Our ER staff members work with local EMS personnel to diagnose your symptoms and save seconds when they count most.
How Will I Know What Caused My Chest Pain?
Our heart doctors get right to the source of your chest pain, so we can decide the best treatment for your condition. Interventional procedures may include:
- Blood tests
- Electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG)
- Imaging tests, including X-ray, cardiac CT (computed tomography) and cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Nuclear stress test
- Stress test
How Is Heart Attack Treated?
The right treatment right when you need it is your best chance to survive a heart attack. At the start of a heart attack, you may be given medications to help open your arteries, such as:
- Thrombolytic therapy ("clot busters")
- Other antiplatelet (clot prevention) drugs
We use angioplasty in our cardiac catheterization laboratory. Angioplasty works by inserting a catheter with a balloon into the blocked artery and inflating that balloon to open up the artery. A small wire mesh coil called a stent is placed in the artery to keep it open.
In some cases, coronary bypass surgery can restore blood supply to your heart muscle. The procedure is called bypass surgery, because it creates an alternate route around the blocked artery so blood can travel to your heart.