Heart Attack Warning Signs | UnityPoint Health Trinity | Fort Dodge

Urgent Care Fort Dodge

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Heart Attack Warning Signs

Having a Heart Attack? Experiencing Chest Pain?


Don't wait to be sure.

Truly, time is muscle when it come to your heart. The faster your heart attack is treated, the less damage your heart experiences and the better outcome you can expect from treatment. 

Signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but it can also occur before chest discomfort.
  • Other symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling weak, nauseous or lightheaded.

Signs of a heart attack in women:

  • Pressure, fullness, squeezing pain in the center of the chest, spreading to the neck, shoulder or jaw
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath
  • Upper abdominal pressure or discomfort
  • Lower chest discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

What do I do if I am experiencing a heart attack?

Call 9-1-1 right away. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. While waiting for the ambulance, take one regular tablet of aspirin unless you're allergic to aspirin.

About heart attacks

Patients often wait because they don't want to alarm their loved ones, or they're concerned about incurring unnecessary bills. Whatever the reason, the average patient arrives in the Emergency Room (ER) more than two hours after the onset of symptoms. 

Most patients don't realize that the faster a heart attack is treated, the less damage their heart will experience and the better outcome they can expect from treatment. Time is muscle. 

Trinity understands the need for speed when it comes to treating what may be a heart attack. When the ambulance arrives, our EMTs and paramedics have the ability to perform an electrocardiogram (EKG) in the ambulance and transmit the results via cell phone back to Trinity's Emergency Department. If the EKG confirms a heart attack, a MI (myocardial infarction) Alert is set in motion - one of the most aggressive cardiac emergency response systems in the nation. Every member of the MI team is waiting in the ER for patient to arrive.

There are two Cardiac Catheterization Labs at Trinity, staffed with skilled Cardiologist and experienced technicians. The cardiac staff work closely with area hospital emergency and ambulance services to provide life saving care to heart attack patients all day, everyday.