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It seem obvious when a patient has a heart attack, but in many cases the symptoms may not that obvious to the lay-person – but they should be to a qualified medical practitioner.
Accurately and quickly identifying that a patient has suffered a heart attack is extremely important because the outcomes for heart attack victims are very strongly linked to the length of time between the outset of cardiac arrest and receiving direct treatment.
These symptoms are often mistaken for heartburn by patient and doctor alike, with fatal results
A heart attack occurs when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked and the heart muscle is deprived of blood. The longer it takes for the blockage to be cleared – either with drugs or through cardiac catheterization – the more damage is inflicted on the heart muscle. Delays in treatment can lead to heart failure, either shortly after the initial event or in the months or years following if damaged heart muscle leads to congestive heart failure.
More than one-fifth of men and a quarter of women over the age of 45 die within a year of their first heart attack. In most cases, this is due to delays on the part of the patient in seeking treatment for chest pain, but the medical professionals have a clear responsibility to identify the symptoms of cardiac arrest and to treat it with the utmost urgency.
Symptoms of an impending heart attack include pressure building in the chest and pain in the left arm. Unfortunately, these symptoms are often mistaken for heartburn by patient and doctor alike, with fatal results.