Care Transitions:  Myocardial Infarction - Part 2

Jun 01, 2012

Every year, nearly 800,000 Americans have their first heart attack.  And every year, nearly 1/2 million Americans will have a second or third heart attack.  It is the leading cause of death in both men and women in this country, and costs us well over $100 billion per year. 

According to the CDC, 92% of Americans recognize chest pain as a symptom of a heart attack.  Only 27% were aware of all the symptoms, and would know enough to call 9-1-1 as a result.  Early response is key to surviving a heart attack.  Nearly 1/2 of all heart attack deaths occur outside a hospital.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Crushing, squeezing or burning pain, pressure or fullness in the center of the chest that may radiate to the neck, arms, shoulders or jaw
  • Shortness of breath, dizziness
  • Nausea, heartburn or upset stomach
  • Sweating or feeling chills
  • Weak, fast pulse
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Cold, clammy skin, gray color to the face
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

Interestingly, a heart attack victim may feel all of these symptoms, or none of these symptoms.  There are those who have had a heart attack, and didn't know it!  Stay tuned for our next entry discussing recommendations for caregivers regarding post-discharge care for heart attack victims.