In addition to chest pain, what other symptoms of myocardial infarction (MI, heart attack) should be considered when evaluating a patient for MI?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: A Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Answer

Other symptoms of myocardial infarction include the following:

  • Anxiety, commonly described as a sense of impending doom

  • Pain or discomfort in areas of the body, including the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach

  • Lightheadedness, with or without syncope

  • Cough

  • Nausea, with or without vomiting

  • Profuse sweating

  • Shortness of breath

  • Wheezing

  • Rapid or irregular heart rate

  • Fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling

The patient may recall only an episode of indigestion as an indication of myocardial infarction (see Physical Examination). In some cases, patients do not recognize chest pain, possibly because they have a stoic outlook, have an unusually high pain threshold, have a disorder that impairs function of the nervous system and that results in a defective anginal warning system (eg, diabetes mellitus), or have obtundation caused by medication or impaired cerebral perfusion. Elderly patients with preexisting altered mental status or dementia may have no recollection of recent symptoms and may have no complaints whatsoever.


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