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Chest Pain and Heart Attack Care

Comprehensive care for adults complaining of chest pains, especially with shortness of breath and other related symptoms, is provided at our chest pain center within University Hospital's emergency department. Rapid diagnostic tests and evaluations available 24 hours a day ensure quality care, whether the condition is found to be heartburn, a heart attack or potential heart failure.

Advanced planning begins when emergency care teams receive EKGs transmitted from ambulances by way of a wireless system. Upon arrival, patients are quickly triaged to the chest pain center, where specialists take a medical history and perform a thorough physical exam and EKG.

High-risk patients are taken directly to the cardiac catheterization area. They are admitted directly to the hospital if further work-up by a cardiologist is needed. Those with low- to moderate-risk chest pains and congestive heart failure are closely monitored for up to 23 hours to ensure they are healthy enough to go home.


  • Field transmission of EKGS
  • Provocative tests, including chemical and physical stress tests
  • Nuclear perfusion imaging
  • Patient education
  • Triage/emergency care assessment
  • Diagnostic testins, including cardiac enzymes
  • Continual monitoring of heart tracings and EKGs

Heed warning signs

Anyone who has chest pain that worsens over a five-minute period should call for emergency medical help, according to guidelines released by the American Heart Association. Worsening chest pain, especially if accompanied by shortness of breath, weakness or lightheadedness, can be a sign of a heart attack.

The more quickly a person having a heart attack is treated, the more likely he is to survive without long-term complications, the AHA says. Other symptoms of a heart attack include pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Not everyone having a heart attack experiences typical symptoms. The more signs and symptoms you have, the more likely that you are having a heart attack.