When should medical advice be sought regarding chest pain?
Chest pain is an important signal that needs to be investigated. It is one of the most common symptoms leading to emergency room visits throughout the world. The reason chest pain is taken seriously by health-care professionals is that it may be the first sign of a heart attack (myocardial infarction) or a pending heart attack (angina pectoris). It is also very important to know that there is a time window for preventing permanent damage to the heart muscle from occurring; it takes approximately six hours from the time a coronary artery is blocked for muscle death and scarring to take place. If the blockage can be removed timeously–either by a balloon angioplasty or medication that dissolves the clot–damage to the heart muscle may be significantly diminished. Time is, therefore, of the essence, and medical advice should be sought as soon as possible. Classical chest pain related to coronary artery disease is typical and easily recognized. The pain is usually substernal (behind the br