Patient Comments: Heart attack - Symptoms

The symptoms of heart attack can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

A Doctor's View on 12 Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs

Read the Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men. Read the entire Doctor's View

Comment from: dsb47, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 25

I am 68 years old and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) 3 years ago. I have a congenital MVP (mitral valve prolapse). I had vague symptoms 3 days leading up to the heart attack, not 'feeling right.' A hard pain in my left upper back got my attention, but it subsided. Last week, I was fast asleep and then awakened by a crushing, burning pain in my chest. No other symptoms. My oxygen monitor wouldn't read my pulse. Because we were in a rural area, my husband rushed me to the closest hospital and reached there approximately 30 to 45 minutes after the onset of symptoms. Chest pain was still as painful as at onset. Cardiac enzymes were elevated and I had an abnormal EKG, so I was transferred to a larger hospital 3 hours away. By the time I reached the other hospital, the enzymes were back to almost normal. I was told my heart had already healed itself. Tests show I have a small blockage in an artery in the anterior wall. I am awaiting further instructions.

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Comment from: zr800o1le, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 19

My wife aged 48, healthy, active, and a nonsmoker, just had the 'widow maker' heart attack. There were no usual signs, she started having pains in her left shoulder, front and back. It was diagnosed by our family doctor of 20 years, as bursitis. Stress test showed nothing irregular, chiropractic massage seemed to help it, only it would return in a few days. Here it is 3 months later. Four days ago she woke me at 3 a.m. crying in pain but wouldn't let me take her to emergency room (stubborn). Next day all was well, we had dinner together. As her husband of 27 plus years I didn't even see the difference in color/tone of skin. Next day at work she was in great pain again, a coworker had seen she was pale, ambulance called, nitroglycerin given, and baby aspirins. While in ambulance EKG showed she was having heart attack. When she arrived the doctor grabbed me and said, �This is bad, EKG shows she is having a massive heart attack now. Sir, you have 5 to 7 seconds to tell her you love her and kiss her goodbye.� Five people ran pushing her down the hallway so fast to surgery I couldn't keep up. Heart surgeon came out a while later with a picture and showed me, main artery 99 percent blocked, left artery 98 percent blocked, and 3rd 68 percent. Four hours later she was sitting up talking, 16 hours later, it's as if my wife has 'new life', more spunk than in the past 5 years. Heart surgeon said that 99 percent of all women who have this degree of heart attack die, and could not believe she was sitting up talking to him only 16 hours later. She is lucky! Ladies, please get a second and third opinion, don't be stubborn as it could cost you your life.

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Comment from: FedWorker, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

I have high blood pressure (BP) and a very stressful job. I think I had a heart attack on February 27th while at work. I was not feeling well and stepped into the restroom. I began to sweat profusely, shaking. Too embarrassed to call for help from the stall, I waited for it to subside. Ten minutes later, I made my way back to my desk. Several people concerned with my paleness, sat with me. Suddenly my pants seemed too tight, and my shoes seemed too tight to keep them on. I knew something was seriously wrong, but didn't want to admit it. I asked to go home for the day and drove home. I checked my blood pressure and it was 193/123. I doubled up on my BP medicines and lay down. I got to the doctor 4 days later. BP was 156/108 and the doctor changed my medicines (new doctor). BP at this time going up and heart rate going down. I returned to the doctor 3 days after my 1st appointment. BP was 178/110 and heart rate 44. The doctor changed my medicines again. I had a week of fatigue and weakness. BP is now down but still not in normal range, heart rate back where it should be. EKG and next appointment is on March 17th. I do not know if they can tell me if it was a heart attack. But hindsight being 20/20, I believe it was and I am lucky it was not worse. Lesson to learn, don't be embarrassed, call for help or 911.

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Comment from: 12Semi, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 15

Before heart attack I had mild indigestion and then I felt an unusual pain in the bottom of my lungs. Because I had recently been told my blood pressure was high, I went straight to the emergency room. I had elevated troponin, RCA (right coronary artery) 98 percent LAD (left anterior descending artery) 65 percent, so had one stent in each. LAD had restenosis after 4 months and was displayed either post-prandial or following exertion (fast walking). Pain was inside right shoulder, came on suddenly, and diminished rather slowly, 3 minutes.

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Heart Attack - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your heart attack?
Heart Attack - Diagnosis Question: Please describe the events that led to a diagnosis of a heart attack. What tests and exams did you have?

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