Someone having a heart attack may experience any or all of the following:
Uncomfortable pressure, fullness or squeezing pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes
Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms
Lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
If you or someone else may be having a heart attack:
Call 911 or emergency medical assistance. Don't "tough out" the symptoms of a heart attack for more than five minutes. If you don't have access to emergency medical services, have someone, such as a neighbor or friend, drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only as a last resort, if there are absolutely no other options. Driving yourself puts you and others at risk if your condition suddenly worsens.
Chew a regular-strength aspirin. Aspirin reduces blood clotting, which can help blood flow through a narrowed artery that's caused a heart attack. However, don't take aspirin if you are allergic to aspirin, have bleeding problems or take another blood-thinning medication, or if your doctor previously told you not to do so.
Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed. If you think you're having a heart attack and your doctor has previously prescribed nitroglycerin for you, take it as directed. Don't take anyone else's nitroglycerin.
Begin CPR on the person having a heart attack, if directed. If the person suspected of having a heart attack is unconscious, a 911 dispatcher or another emergency medical specialist may advise you to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Even if you're not trained, a dispatcher can instruct you in CPR until help arrives. If help from a 911 dispatcher or emergency medical specialist is unavailable, begin CPR. If you don't know CPR, begin pushing hard and fast on the person's chest over the heart — about 100 compressions a minute.