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Being a Heart Saver

If you're with someone who seems to be having an attack, act immediately.

  • Expect a "denial." It's normal for someone with chest pain to deny that it could be a heart attack. Don't take "no" for an answer. Insist on taking prompt action.
  • Call an emergency service or get to the nearest hospital.
  • Give CPR if it's necessary and you are properly trained.

Know common warning signs:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back again.
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms.
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath.
  • Many heart attacks cause completely different sensations. The signs listed here are common, but by no means are they the only possible indications of a heart attack in progress.

Know what to do:

  • Find out which nearby hospitals have 24-hour emergency cardiac care.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers next to the telephone and in your wallet.
  • If you have chest discomfort, call an emergency service or have someone drive you to the nearest hospital. Don't drive yourself!
What's This?

You are viewing a page in The Franklin Institute's online exploration of the human heart. It is one of many Resources for Science Learning which inspire scientific curiosity.

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