You’ve seen it on TV shows, you’ve read about it in magazines—heart attack is one of the best known medical emergencies, and one of the leading causes of death in the United States. However, many people don’t know how to recognize a heart attack even when it’s happening to them. Symptoms can range from a subtle twinge to extreme pain. Whatever symptoms you experience, mild or intense, it’s important to get to a doctor as quickly as possible. Time makes a huge difference in whether or not a person survives a heart attack, and their health going forward.
“The quicker we can get a person having a heart attack into the cardiac catheterization lab the better,” says Erica Spatz, MD, MHS, a cardiologist at Yale Medicine. “Yale has been a leader in establishing that time matters in treating heart attacks.”