About 2/3 of patients have the beginnings of symptoms of a heart attack, namely shortness of breath or fatigue days or weeks before the heart attack. Then suddenly they have a deep pain under the chest bone which is perceived as an ache or pressure and often radiates to the back, the jaw or the left arm. It is very similar to the pain perceived with angina, but it lasts longer, is more severe and does not respond to nitroglycerine. The patient is restless, looks pale and the skin feels cool and may look bluish (the medical term for this is “cyanotic”). The important part for the family members or the people around the patient is to call 911 and indicate your suspicion that the person has a heart attack. The ambulance will soon arrive. Should the person pass out and get into shock it is important to apply CPR right away. The sooner CPR is applied, the better the chances of survival for the patient.
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