Teachable Minutes: Heart Attack

Gary Heigel EMS instructor at RCC posing in front of a training ambulanceHello, this is Gary in the Emergency Services Department at Rogue Community College.

Each year, nearly a million people in the US suffer a heart attack. Getting help quickly can make all the difference, and yet many people wait more than 2 hours. To have the best chance, you need to call early.

At RCC, we train EMTs and paramedics in how to recognize and treat heart attacks. Most involve chest discomfort, often in the center of the chest, but it may feel like pressure, squeezing, or pain, or the pain may be in the arms, neck, or jaw. Some patients will experience difficulty breathing, sweating, nausea, or lightheadedness. Often people feel embarrassed to call in a “false alarm.” These feelings are easy to understand, but they also are very dangerous.

Watch for these signs and symptoms, in yourself or others, and call 911 immediately if you suspect a heart attack.