Symptoms of a heart attack

No two heart attacks are the same. Symptoms can range from feeling generally unwell to severe chest pain. In many cases chest pain or tightness is accompanied by a range of other symptoms.

The most common symptoms of heart attack are:

  • Central chest pain which can spread to the arms, neck or jaw.
  • Feeling sick or sweaty as well as having central chest pain.
  • Feeling short of breath as well as having central chest pain.

Symptoms vary and some people may feel any of the following:

  • A dull pain, ache, or ‘heavy’ feeling in the chest.
  • A mild discomfort in the chest that makes you feel generally unwell.
  • A pain in the chest that can spread to the back or stomach.
  • A chest pain that feels like bad indigestion.
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy as well as having chest pain.

The pain can last from five minutes to several hours. Moving around, changing your position or resting will not stop or ease the pain. The pain may be constant or it may come and go. It may feel like pressure, squeezing or 'fullness'.

If you think that you, or someone you know is suffering from a heart attack you need to call 999 for an ambulance immediately.

We recently supported a British Heart Foundation campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of heart attack. One of our paramedics appeared in the campaign's short film called ‘Watch your own heart attack’ .

(This information is provided by kind permission of the British Heart Foundation, with whom we work closely on heart-related issues.)