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Note: All hospitals have Emergency Rooms unless otherwise noted.
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Follow these guidelines if you suspect you or someone you know is having a heart attack:
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not drive yourself or anyone to the hospital.
  • Vital treatment can begin in the ambulance.
  • Chew and swallow an aspirin.
  • Be sure your front door is unlocked so medical personnel can get in.

Heart Attack Overview

A heart attack occurs as a result of decreased blood flow to the heart, which can cause irreversible injury to heart tissue and death. Heart attacks most commonly happen due to coronary artery disease (CAD), an accumulation of plaque inside coronary blood vessels. When a plaque ruptures, a clot forms at the site and causes sudden obstruction to blood flow in that artery, which leads to a heart attack.

This obstruction is why time is essential when treating a heart attack. The faster your blood begins flowing to your heart again, the less damage your heart suffers, and the more likely a full recovery can occur.

WellStar is focused on preventing, diagnosing, treating and rehabilitating heart disease with skilled physicians and advanced technology close to home. Emergency departments at WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Kennestone and Paulding hospitals provide comprehensive cardiac services. WellStar Cobb and Kennestone hospital’s cardiac diagnostic and treatment services provide the next level of defense against heart disease. The technologically advanced Cardiac Center at WellStar Kennestone Hospital and partnership with Emory Healthcare for adult open-heart surgery raises the bar on world-class cardiac care.


Men and women often experience different symptoms when having a heart attack. Symptoms typical of a heart attack in men can include the following:

  • Chest pressure or pain
  • Discomfort or pain in the arms, neck, back, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Profound sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting or lightheadedness

Women may experience the above heart attack symptoms, plus any of the following:

  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
  • Stomach or abdominal pain (between the breastbone and naval)
  • Palpitations
  • Cold sweats
  • Paleness

Learn the symptoms of a heart attack for both men and women and contact 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone you know exhibits these symptoms.

Risk Factors

An additional risk factor for women:

  • The combination of smoking and oral contraceptives, especially in women older than 35, increases the risk of heart disease or heart attack.