What should I do if I have chest pains?

If you experience a “smothering feeling” or angina-like chest pain
(discomfort, pressure, or pain in the chest, back, neck, shoulders, jaw, or arms), follow these instructions:

1) Stop what you’re doing, and sit or lie down.

2) If you’ve been prescribed nitroglycerin, see if the pain can be
    relieved with nitroglycerin:
  • Take one nitroglycerin pill and wait 5 minutes.
  • If the pain is not relieved, take another nitroglycerin pill and wait 5
         more minutes.
  • If the pain is still not relieved, take a third nitroglycerin pill, and wait
         5 minutes.
3) If your pain is still not relieved, call 911. Wait for the ambulance. Do 
   NOT go to the hospital in a private car. You might need emergency care
   on the way to the hospital--which ambulance staff can provide.
Deb Cordes
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
If you do not have known heart disease and start to have chest pain/chest discomfort of any kind that lasts more then 5 minutes call 911. If you have heart disease and have nitrogylcerin tablets it would be important to follow your physician's instructions on how to take them, and when to call 911 or go to the emergency room if the nitroglycerin does not relieve the chest pain. In either case if the chest discomfort is associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, shortness of breath, pain or discomfort in jaws, arms or back seek emergency medical attention by calling 911.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.