PatientsVisitorsLocations & ServicesAbout the RegionJoin Our TeamPhysicians
Find:  Locations | Services
About UsSigns and SymptomsWhat to ExpectFrequently Asked QuestionsLinks
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Signs and Symptoms

What to do if you are experiencing these warning signs


  • Call 911 or your local emergency number for help, or have someone call for you (It's a good idea to keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone at all times).
  • Stop all activity and sit or lie down, in whatever position is most comfortable.
  • If you take nitroglycerin, take your normal dosage.
  • If you are experiencing chest pain , chew and swallow one (1) adult 325 mg ASA tablet (e.g., Aspirin®) or two (2) 80 mg tablets. Do not use pain medicines like acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol ) or ibuprofen (e.g. Advil®).
  • Rest comfortably and wait for emergency medical services (EMS) (e.g., ambulance) to arrive.

If you are with someone who is experiencing the warning signals of a heart attack:

  • Help the person with all the activities listed above.
  • Expect denial. You must take charge and call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • If the person becomes unresponsive (no normal breathing, coughing, or movement), start CPR.

Cardiopulmonary Arrest

In the event of cardiopulmonary arrest (no normal breathing, coughing or movement), call 911 or your local emergency number, attach an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) or begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately and continue until emergency help has arrived.

  • Check the scene for safety.
  • Determine unresponsiveness (no normal breathing, coughing or movement).
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Get the AED or ask someone to get an AED if there is one close by, and attach it to the person immediately.

Early intervention in the case of a cardiac emergency can mean the difference between life and death. The flow of oxygen to the brain can be sustained and the amount of permanent damage can be reduced. A survival rate as high as 90% has been reported when defibrillation is achieved within the first minute of collapse. Every minute that passes reduces the chances of survival by 7- 10%.

Be part of the Chain of Survival – Learn how to react!

For more information visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada website.

Last Modified: Thursday, March 20, 2014 |
Questions or feedback about this page?