What are the characteristics of typical chest pain in acute myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack)?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: A Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Typical chest pain in acute MI has the following characteristics:

  • Intense and unremitting for 30-60 minutes

  • Substernal, and often radiates up to the neck, shoulder, and jaw, and down the left arm

  • Usually described as a substernal pressure sensation that also may be characterized as squeezing, aching, burning, or even sharp

  • In some patients, the symptom is epigastric, with a feeling of indigestion or of fullness and gas

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