A heart attack is a medical emergency that needs immediate care. Only a doctor can diagnose a heart attack. However, if you think you might be experiencing any signs or symptoms of a heart attack, it is important to call 911 immediately. Emergency medical care professionals will evaluate your symptoms on the scene, measure and monitor your heartbeat, and transport you to the emergency department. If a heart attack has caused an irregular heartbeat, they may initiate CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or use an Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) to jolt the heart back into a normal rhythm.
Once you arrive at the hospital, a doctor will conduct a physical examination, review medical history, and use a series of diagnostic tests to measure damage to the heart and blood vessels. Because a heart attack is likely the result of coronary artery disease, doctors may also conduct tests to measure blockage in the arteries and determine future heart attack risk.
Medically Reviewed by: Jennifer Monti, MD
Published: Feb 15, 2011
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.