I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event
that I have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!
FEMALE HEART ATTACKS
I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is
the best description I’ve ever read.
Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that
women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when
experiencing heart attack … you know, the sudden stabbing pain in
the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the
floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman’s
experience with a heart attack.
‘I had a heart attack at about 10 :30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO
prior emotional traum a that one would suspect might’ve brought it on.
I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring
cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me,
and actually thinking, ‘A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm
in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.
A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when
you’ve been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it
down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like
you’ve swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow
motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn’t have
gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and
this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the
stomach. This was my initial sensation—the only trouble was that
I had n’t ta ken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.
After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little
squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight,
it was probably my aorta spasing), gaining speed as they continued
racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses
rhythmically when administering CPR).
This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched
out into both jaws. ‘AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was
happening — we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws
being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said
aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I’m having a heart
I lowered the footrest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take
a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this
&nbs p;is a heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where
the phone is or anywhere else … but, on the other hand, if I
don’t, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer
I may not be able to get up in moment.
I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into
the next room and dialed the Paramedics .. I told her I thought I
was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the
sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or
afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the
Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to
me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor
where they could see me when they came in.
I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed
and lost consciousness, as I don’t remember the m edics coming in,
their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into
their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude E R on
the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the
Cardiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap,
helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was
bending over me asking questions (probably something like ‘Have you
taken any medications?’) but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what
he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking
up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the
teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and
into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stents to hold
open my right coronary artery.
‘I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must
have taken at least 20-3 0 minu tes before calling the Paramedics,
but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both
the fire station and St. Jude are only minutes away from my home,
and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and
get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere
between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents.
‘Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail?
Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know
what I learned first hand.’
1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your
body not the usual men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening
(until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many
more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they
didn’t know they were having one and comm only m istake it as
indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation
and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when they
wake up .. which doesn’t happen. My female friends, your symptoms
might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the
Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you’ve
not felt before. It is better to have a ‘false alarm’ visitation
than to risk your life guessing what it might be!
1. Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics.’ And if you can take an
aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive
yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the road.
Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking
anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road.
Do NOT call your doctor – – he d oesn’t know where you live and if
it’s at night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his
assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the
Paramedics. He doesn’t carry the equipment in his car that you need
to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need
ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.
3. Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a
normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a
cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless
it’s unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure).
MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the
body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to
sludge things up in there.
Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let’s be c areful
and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive.
A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10
people, you can be sure that we’ll save
at least one life.
**Please be a true friend and send this article to all your
friends (male & female) you care about!**