Time is muscle when you’re having a heart attack!

Know the Symptoms Call 911

It Can Save Your Life.

Time is muscle when you’re having a heart attack. The longer it takes to start treatment the more damage is done and the less likely you are to survive. That’s why it’s imperative to seek the fastest care possible.

The Naifeh Families Chest Pain Center at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center has been working with first responders for years to administer lifesaving help almost immediately.

Technology allows crews in the field to send EKGs and other vital data to the hospital while still en route. Emergency staff at the chest pain center can then begin preparing for the patient’s arrival, while communicating with paramedics. It’s a head start that can be the difference between life and death.

What many people don’t realize is the importance of calling 911 immediately when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. The time saved by beginning treatment inside an ambulance vehicle versus a patient’s family member driving him or her to the hospital is crucial.

Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.

Often the longest delay in getting the necessary treatment for a heart attack is failing to call 911 when symptoms begin. There is a limited time frame in which heart muscle can be saved. After four hours, the opportunity to save heart muscle drastically diminishes.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

Chest Pain or Discomfort:

Discomfort in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like squeezing, pressure, fullness, pain, or like heartburn or indigestion.

Upper Body Pain or Discomfort:

Discomfort may be felt in both arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw, or upper part of stomach.

Shortness of Breath:

This may be the only symptom or it may occur before or along with chest pain or discomfort. It can occur when resting or during easy activities.

Other Possible Symptoms:

May include breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling unusually tired, nausea, or light-headedness. Any sudden new symptom or change in usual symptoms should be a concern.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Don’t ignore or make excuses of your symptoms. Every minute matters with getting treatment for a heart attack.

Never drive yourself when experiencing these symptoms or think you are having a heart attack.