Surviving a Heart Attack: When to Call for Help

Deer Valley Hospital
19829 N. 27th Ave.
Phoenix, Arizona 85027
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North Mountain Hospital
250 E. Dunlap Ave.
Phoenix, Arizona 85020
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» Request a referral to a John C. Lincoln cardiac specialist.

Time is a critical factor in heart attack treatment. If you suspect that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Bystanders who have been trained to perform CPR or use a defibrillator may be able to help until emergency medical personnel arrive, to transport the patient to the emergency department.

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Video: Learn about the signs of heart attack and how you can trust John C. Lincoln for emergency heart care.

The "need for speed" underscores the importance of recognizing heart attack symptoms. Remember, a heart attack often starts with mild symptoms that may not be painful. This is especially true for women, whose symptoms can be very subtle. Learn the warning signs of heart attack for women.

Steps for Survival

The path to surviving a heart attack starts with a phone call:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience heart attack symptoms. Whatever you do, do not attempt to drive yourself, or have someone drive you, to an emergency center. Tell the dispatcher where you are and what's happening. Do not hang up the phone until you're told to do so.
  • Chew aspirin: 2 baby aspirins or 1 adult aspirin. Do not chew tablets with enteric coating or gelcaps.
  • Remember "5-5-5": Place a nitroglycerin tablet under your tongue for five minutes. Do not swallow the tablet. If chest pain persists, place a second tablet under the tongue for five minutes. If chest pain still continues, use a third tablet for five minutes. You may take up to three tablets over 15 minutes.

As you wait for the ambulance, you should:

  • Get into a relaxed sitting position, with your legs up and bent at the knees, to ease strain on your heart.
  • Loosen tight clothing around your neck and waist, and remain calm.
  • Use CPR if necessary, if you're helping a heart attack victim. Knowing CPR can save the life of someone you love.

Why Call 9-1-1 for Help?

By calling 9-1-1 and waiting for an ambulance to arrive, you will receive vital care from trained paramedics on the way to the hospital. What's more, your emergency department will have time to monitor your vital signs remotely and prepare for your arrival. Calling 9-1-1 is the critical first step in getting help for chest pain.

Our Commitment to Emergency Heart Care

National guidelines require that hospitals are able to open a blocked artery, using a procedure called balloon angioplasty, within 90 minutes of a patient's arrival in the emergency room. This standard is called "door-to-balloon" time.

As accredited Chest Pain Centers, both John C. Lincoln Hospitals focus on advanced emergency care for heart patients. This focus ensures we not only meet the required national guidelines, but consistently perform better than the standard for door-to-balloon time.