Every second counts when a heart attack occurs
It’s better to go to the hospital and learn you’re not having a heart attack than to stay home and have one. However, driving yourself - which more than 50 percent of those who come to the Emergency Department (ED) with chest pains do - isn’t the best choice either because you’ll risk encountering delays in receiving treatment.
Calling 9-1-1 is actually the fastest and best way to get potentially lifesaving treatment if you’re experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Often, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responders are able to diagnosis a heart attack by performing an electrocardiogram (ECG) en route to the hospital and can initiate early treatment if appropriate. EMS can also radio ahead to ensure that a physician and other staff are ready to care for you immediately when you arrive.
You have about 90 minutes from the onset of a heart attack for an interventional cardiologist or surgeon to restore the flow of blood to the heart before critical heart tissue dies or is damaged. If your symptoms persist for more than 15 minutes, you are at increased risk that heart muscle cells will die. Therefore, it’s crucial to receive immediate medical attention. If you are having chest pain, please call 9-1-1 immediately.