Heart & Circulatory Health

Heart Attack and Its Early Recognition

Written by Dr. Mir Osman Ali and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.


Heart is the vital pumping organ of the body. Its damage can be catastrophic, but the good news is that there are preventive measures.

Heart attack is irreversible death of heart tissue, which occurs when the oxygen supply to a specific part of the heart cuts off due to decreased blood supply or partial block in the blood supply to the heart.

Signs of Heart Attack:

  • Severe left sided chest pain can spread to the left arm, neck and back. The pain can last for 30-60 minutes. The pain can be described as a sharp stabbing pain, squeezing or burning pain.
  • Severe anxiety and sweating is commonly seen.
  • The patient can feel the fast heart beating also known as palpitations. Breathlessness may also be seen.
  • Cough, abnormal breathing sounds or frothy sputum sometimes may be associated.

Life Saving Step:

You can take immediate life saving steps at home before being transferred to hospital. Take an Aspirin tablet 75 mg to 200 mg maximum immediately. This helps in decreasing chest pain and also helps in improving the blood supply to the damaged region. Reach the Emergency Department of the Hospital as soon as possible. Reaching within 2 hours is considered to give better outcome of the disease.

Never make the patient to walk or stand during a heart attack. No physical stress should be allowed and patients should be reassured in order to decrease anxiety.


Electrocardiogram (ECG) is the first and routine investigation of this condition.

Medical Therapy:

It is decided on the type of myocardial infarction. MI is of two types, ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (non-STEMI or NSTEMI).

STEMI needs immediate thrombolytic therapy that dissolves the clots and the NSTEMI attack treatment is totally different from the one expressed above. Your cardiologist will take the best action for you.

If you are still in doubt regarding heart attack, then consult a cardiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/cardiologist

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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