Heart Attack, Angina and Chest Pain

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Understanding Heart Attacks and Angina: Symptoms and Treatment

Heart attacks and angina are serious cardiac events that require prompt action and treatment. Recognizing their symptoms and knowing the proper treatment can save lives.

Heart Attacks

Heart attacks occur when there is a blockage in the heart, depriving it of blood and oxygen. This can be caused by narrowing, plaque, clots, or a muscle spasm and can be fatal. Heart attacks are the most common form of death in the UK.

Symptoms of Heart Attacks

  • Pain in the centre of the chest, radiating from the abdomen and jaw, and possibly down one arm
  • Crushing pain in the chest
  • Laboured breathing
  • Rapid or irregular pulse
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Pale, cold, and clammy skin
  • Grey/blue appearance
  • The feeling of chronic indigestion

Heart Attack Treatment

  1. Calm the patient and have them sit in the W position
  2. alert the EMS
  3. Monitor the patient's ABC's
  4. Loosen clothing
  5. Be prepared to begin CPR if the patient's condition worsens


Angina is not a heart attack, but it can develop into a more severe condition. It is caused by a build-up of cholesterol plaque on the lining of the coronary artery or a collapsed arterial wall, making it hard for blood to flow freely to the heart.

Angina Symptoms

  • It will seem like a heart attack at first
  • Sudden weakness, anxiety, and fear
  • Evidence of stress or physical activity

Angina Treatment

  1. Place the patient in the same position as for heart attacks
  2. Locate and ensure they take their medication
  3. Usually, with medication and rest, the pain will ease
  4. If it does not, or if this is their first attack, alert the EMS