Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

Current Estimated Wait:

Signs of a Heart Attack

Few symptoms are more concerning than chest pain. Our 24-hour Chest Pain Center features specially trained staff and the most advanced cardiac diagnostic equipment available to rapidly evaluate your pain and provide the necessary treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

Every minute counts. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack could save your life or the life of a loved one.

  • Chest pain, pressure, squeezing or fullness.
  • Shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or lightheadedness with or without chest pain.
  • Discomfort in arms, back, jaw, neck or stomach with or without chest pain.
  • Dizziness and extreme fatigue.
  • Feelings of anxiety or "impending doom."

Although a woman's most common symptom is chest discomfort, women are also likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Read a woman's story about her heart attack experience.

Early Heart Attack Care

Over 50% of heart attacks have "beginning" symptoms that may come and go for days or weeks. Early symptoms include:

  • Mild chest pressure, aching or burning that comes and goes.
  • Chest discomfort that may feel like indigestion.
  • Possible similar discomforts of the body - with or without chest discomfort - in the inner arm (especially left arm), jaw or teeth.
  • Chest discomfort that may worsen with physical activity and subside with rest.
  • Chest discomfort that is "diffused" (not in one specific spot).
  • Chest discomfort that may come back sooner, last longer or be more severe each time.
  • Chest discomfort described above that may be accompanied by sweating, shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms.

By recognizing these symptoms and seeking medical attention by calling 911, a heart attack can be minimize or prevented.

Watch Video: Warning Signs of a Heart Attack (provided by the American Heart Association)

Symptoms? Call 911!

If you experience symptoms, call 911 and have emergency personnel transport you to the hospital. They are experts in managing emergencies and have the knowledge and equipment needed to begin treatment of your heart. EMS also maintains two-way communication with the Emergency Department, so that care can be continued as soon as you arrive at the hospital.

As with heart attack, stroke is also an emergency and time is of the essence. Learn the signs and symptoms.