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Every Heart Attack is Unique. And That's How We Treat Them. 

A heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. Heart attacks can be sudden or they can start slowly and have early warning signs. Because every heart is unique, so is every heart attack, even though many of the warning signs are the same. You may experience some or all of the warning signs.

What is a Heart Attack? 

A heart attack is caused by a blockage of one of the three coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. The sooner a blocked artery is opened, the less damage there is to the heart. When a heart attack strikes, every second counts. Learn more about heart attacks from the American Heart Association.

Heart Attack Warning Signs: Men vs. Women

The most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain. But women may experience less obvious warning signs. You may experience some or all of these signs.Heart Attack Symptoms for Men and Women from the American Heart Association


  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck or back pain
  • Squeezing chest pressure or pain
  • Shortness of breath


  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck or upper back pain
  • Chest pain, but not always
  • Pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Indigestion
  • Extreme Fatigue 

Because every heart attack is unique, so are the warning signs. 

If you or someone you know are experiencing any of the warning signs of a heart attack, call 911.

Getting help fast could save a life!

Learn more about lifestyle changes for heart attack prevention from the American Heart Association.

Our Team

Our team at VCU Health Pauley Heart Center, a nationally accredited Chest Paint Center, works closely with EMS responders who notify our hospital that a patient with a heart attack is on the way.

Our Cardiac Catheterization Lab team is ready when our EMS responders trigger a pre-hospital alert from the ambulance or aircraft.

 American College of Cardiology Chest Pain Center Accredited Primary PCI with Resuscitation2021 Silver Performance Achievement Award Chest Pain - MI Registry from NCDRUS News & World Report High Performing Hospitals 2023-2024 for Heart Attack