Be ready to react
in the event of
myocardial infarction


Did you know that, on average, heart attack victims arrive at the hospital 5 hours after the onset of symptoms? Don't take this type of risk!

Myocardial infarction

Each year, thousands of Canadians die from myocardial infarction, also called heart attack, due to failure to promptly initiate medical treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of the condition in order to react quickly to limit the consequences.

Myocardial infarction occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery of the heart, thus decreasing the supply of oxygen to the heart’s cells. The main symptom of myocardial infarction is the sudden onset of intense pain (burning, tightness, pressure, and heaviness) in the chest, which cannot be relieved by resting. Pain can spread to the neck, lower jaw, throat, shoulders, back, or arms (especially the left one).

Simultaneously, various signs and symptoms may occur:

  • profuse sweating
  • cold sweats
  • nausea and
  • feeling of angst
    or anxiety
  • difficulty breathing
  • shortness
    of breath
  • palpitations

What should be done if you suspect myocardial infarction?

If you experience chest pain for more than 5 to 10 minutes, stop all activities. Sit or lie down in a quiet, well-ventilated area. Rest comfortably. Loosen your tie or shirt collar to facilitate breathing. Next, follow these simple steps:

  •  Dial 9-1-1 or your local emergency number or ask someone else to do it for you.
  •  Accurately describe your symptoms and the time at which they began to the 9-1-1 operator.
  •  If you have a nitroglycerin pump at hand, spray some on or under your tongue. You can repeat the treatment every five minutes up to a maximum of three doses. If the 9-1-1 operator tells you to do so, bite and chew two 81-mg tablets of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, aspirin, Aspirin®), unless you have an allergy or intolerance. Discuss this ahead of time with a healthcare professional, such as your pharmacist or doctor.
  •  Ideally, aspirin should be administered immediately (as soon as possible within two hours following the onset of symptoms). If you don’t have any on hand, they will be administered to you by first respondents or upon your arrival at the emergency room. It is advisable to keep this medication in stock at home to prepare in the event of a heart attack.
  •  Do not drive your vehicle and wait for emergency services.
  •  If you have taken medication while waiting for emergency services, inform first responders as soon as they arrive.

In the event of myocardial infarction, every minute counts! Swift action limits the damage that can be caused by lack of oxygen to the heart and facilitates complete recovery. Lack of knowledge of the signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction can have dramatic consequences. If you have any doubts at all, call for emergency services immediately. Why hesitate or wait? Your survival or your ability to continue living a healthy life could be at stake.

Don't hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for additional information about cardiovascular health.



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Be ready to react in the event of myocardial infarction

Myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accident (CVA or stroke) are serious conditions for which swift action is pivotal. Learn how to recognize them!
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