Early Heart Attack Care

Johnston Health is proud to say that both of our medical centers (Smithfield and Clayton) are accredited Chest Pain Centers. This means that according to the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), we are experts in dealing with patients who are suffering from symptoms of a heart attack.

Eighty-five percent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack, so early detection and treatment is the key to saving lives. If someone is suffering from the following heart attack symptoms, they should be taken to an accredited chest pain center as soon as possible.

Johnston Health is proud to participate in the Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC) Campaign.

What is the EHAC campaign?
EHAC education asks you to learn the signs and symptoms of a heart attack so you can become an active bystander to save a life- even if it’s yours. Why?

  • Over 800,000 people die in the US every year from a heart attack.
  • On average, 50% of these patients displayed, but ignored, the warning signs.

Learn the Early Heart Attack Signs & Symptoms
Someone may experience any or all of these symptoms. When they start, they can be mild or come and go. Over time, the symptoms and pain increase until the victim collapses.

  • Feeling of fullness
  • Jaw pain
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain that travels down one or both arms
  • Chest pressure, squeezing or discomfort

What are the risk factors?
These are the general risk factors. Discuss your risk for a heart attack with your doctor.

  • Chest pain, pressure, burning, aching or tightness – it may come and go
  • A family history of cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight or obese
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Using tobacco products
  • Metabolic disease, diabetes or other illnesses
  • For women it can also include birth control pills, a history of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes or having a low birth weight baby

What is the difference? Men vs Women.
Heart attack symptoms can be different between men and women. Why does it matter? Women are less likely to seek immediate medical care and are more likely to die.

  • Men normally feel pain and numbness in the left arm or side of chest, but in women, these symptoms may appear on the right side.
  • Women may feel completely exhausted, drained, dizzy or nauseous.
  • Women may feel upper back pain that travels up into their jaw.
  • Women may think their stomach pain is the fl u, heartburn or an ulcer.

What are atypical presentations?
In an atypical presentation, the signs and symptoms are different. How? The patient may not complain about pain or pressure in the chest. Be alert for the following:

  • A sharp or “knife-like” pain that occurs with coughing or breathing.
  • Pain that spreads above the jawbone or into the lower body.
  • Difficult or labored breathing.

EHAC-Photo-WebFind all this information and more on Johnston Health’s EHAC Brochure.

Get more information on the EHAC Program at www.deputyheartattack.org.

Learn more about your JOHNSTON COUNTY EMERGENCY 9-1-1 CENTER.

Get guidance on CALLING 9-1-1.