Heart Attack

A heart attack is a serious medical emergency where the supply of blood to a part of the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.

Lack of blood to part of the heart can seriously damage the heart muscle. The longer you leave it before treatment, the more of the heart muscle is damaged. Sometimes the damage can be permanent.

A heart attack is known medically as an ‘acute myocardial infarction’.

Dial triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance if you suspect that you, or someone you know, is having a heart attack.

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

the chest can feel like it is being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object, and pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms, shoulders and back

  • shortness of breath   
  • an awareness of you heart beat or ‘palpitations
  • feeling weak or light-headed 
  • an overwhelming feeling of anxiety
  • nausea
  • cold sweat

If you have any of the symptoms above, you could be having a heart attack.

If your symptoms are severe, get worse quickly or last longer than 10 minutes call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance.

Early treatment could save your life.

It is important to stress that not everyone experiences severe chest pain. The pain can often be mild and mistaken for indigestion. Some people will not experience any chest pain at all.

It is the combination of symptoms that is important in determining whether a person is possibly having a heart attack, and not the severity of chest pain.


NHS Choices, UK (Heart attack) 

Heart Foundation (Heart attack)