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Chest Pain and Heart Attack Care

Comprehensive care for adults complaining of chest pain, 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 and 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 testing, including cardiac enzymes
  • Continual monitoring of heart tracings and EKGs

Heed the warning signs

According to guidelines released by the American Heart Association, anyone who has chest pain that worsens over a five-minute period should call for emergency medical help. 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 or she is to survive without long-term complications. 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, the more likely a person is having a heart attack.