Heart Attack in Reno, Nevada

How to Recognize and React to a Heart Attack

Every minute counts during a cardiac emergency. It can happen at any time, so it’s important to understand the signs and know how to react.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. Sierra Medical Center can assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

Symptoms of a Possible Heart Attack

To be able to take quick action when faced with a cardiac arrest emergency, it’s important that you are able to identify the warning signs. These include:

  • Chest discomfort, pain, pressure or fullness
  • Pain or discomfort in the stomach, back, neck, arms or jaw
  • Lightheadedness, fainting, sweating or nausea
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

Heart Attack Symptoms for Women

For both men and women, the most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But unlike men, women are more likely to experience other symptoms, including nausea, pain in the jaw or back, and shortness of breath.

Reacting to Cardiac Emergency

If you think someone is having a heart attack or experiencing cardiac arrest, you should call 9-1-1 right away. Do not wait to seek medical care.

The signs of cardiac arrest are different from those of a heart attack. A person in cardiac arrest may:

  • Collapse and lose consciousness
  • Stop breathing normally
  • Lose pulse and blood pressure

Knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may help you save someone’s life. CPR can help keep a victim of cardiac arrest alive until emergency help arrives. Performing CPR helps maintain the vital blood flow to the heart and brain until defibrillation or other lifesaving measures can be administered.

Learn more about Hands-Only CPR

Coronary artery disease is one of the primary causes of cardiac arrest. Other causes include electrocution, drowning, respiratory arrest, choking or trauma. When a person goes into cardiac arrest, the heart’s electrical impulses become chaotic. This irregular heart rhythm, called ventricular fibrillation, causes the heart to stop pumping blood. It may be reversed with cardiac defibrillation.

Automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, are electronic devices that deliver an electric shock to the heart to restore its natural rhythm. Early defibrillation is the critical link in the cardiac arrest chain of survival and can successfully correct ventricular fibrillation.

If you need a referral to a physician at Northern Nevada Sierra Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 775-356-6662.