Seventy-five to 80 percent of patients experiencing chest pain symptoms drive themselves, or are driven to, the emergency room rather than calling 9-1-1. Why?
- I can drive myself.
- Someone else can drive me to the hospital.
- The lights and sirens are embarrassing.
Please call 911 instead because:
- If you drive yourself, you might pass out along the way. Then you could harm yourself and others.
- Emergency service staff can start medical care immediately at your home or in the ambulance.
- Don’t be embarrassed to death. It is more important that you receive the medical care you need right away.
It’s a proven fact* that patients with chest pain symptoms who call an ambulance have quicker, more appropriate treatment and better survival rates. You could also need percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also called balloon treatment. This treatment opens the coronary vessel to dissolve blood clots in patients with heart attacks. If you need PCI, you need to be transported to a hospital that can provide it.
The first key to remember is knowing the warning signs of a heart attack:
| For Men and Women
||Specific to Women
| Chest discomfort - uncomfortable pressure, tightness, fullness or pain in the center of the chest
||Unusual fatigue, anxiety or weakness — unexplained or on exertion
| Discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or upper back
||Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
| Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort
|| Chest discomfort
| Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
| Unusual fatigue, weakness
Remember, calling 9-1-1 when you think you need it, but don't, is better than not receiving life-saving treatment. And it can be hard to recognize a heart attack, so it is important that a health professional evaluate you to be certain.
*European Society of Cardiology (ESC) (2012, October 20). Calling an ambulance improves heart attack survival. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/12102016528.htm
Content from the National Institute of Health and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.