Can one have an "ongoing" heart attack that could last many hours? For all the information out there about symptoms, nothing I've found indicates if arm or shoulder pain is constant or intermittent, sharp or just an ache, ongoing or definitely gone within a typical amount of time.
I read a patient story on the American Heart Association website a couple of years ago, that told of a man that had an ongoing heart attack for a week. He was having symptoms but would not seek medical help until his family made him.
He had a coronary artery blockage that was almost totally closed, so when he worked, his heart could not supply enough blood to his heart muscle. Therefore he had symptoms while working that would partially subside when he would rest.
They stented the blockage and he was fine. Well at least temporarily, because once you get a stent there is a possibility that it will become blocked or restenosed. This has happened to me 2 times. I have 5 stents.
From all that I have read, arm or shoulder pain can be constant or intermittent, usually not sharp but more like a dull ache. An ache that only one that has had angina, and/or a heart attack has experienced. It is different from any other ache, I think.
When a coronary artery is blocked to the point that it deprives the heart muscle of freshly oxygenated blood flow, it causes pain and most times the pain is different for women, I have read. Some doctors are still ignorant of the fact that women have different symptoms of a heart attack.Women tend to have vague pains in their jaw, neck, shoulder or arm along with nausea and a general sense of "feeling bad".
Listen to your body. Your heart will try to tell you when it is not receiving enough blood. My heart waited until I was having a heart attack, to start hurting very badly. I had the old classic type along with a stroke.
Some people have silent heart attacks, especially women I think. They are discovered during an EKG.
I have CAD and walked around for 3 months wild mild chest pain and shortness of breath for 3 or 4 months before going to the ER. My right coronary artery proved to be 90% blocked. The following year I had a burning ache in my chest with sweating, nausea and shortness of breath for hours. In fact the entire time I was at work. That was on a Friday. I had some discomfort off and on over the weekend. I returned to work on Monday, still feeling not quite right. That night I was in the ER and on my way to CCU. It was a heart attack. So in answer to your post, it can last quite awhile. It can be sharp or dull. It can be constant or intermittent. Like every pregnancy is different, so can a heart attack. If you are in doubt, seek medical attention. Either in the dr office or the ER. By the way Jack. The EKG (baseline) was just abnormal during both of my heart attacks of late. It was the blood work and other tests that showed the heart attack. Can't always rely on the EKG either.
So what does that say about stress tests if you can't rely on EKG's? Just had my test yesterday and seemed to pass just fine (except for tons of PVC's after the test). I still don't have an answer for my chest "cramps" as I call them. Oh well, we do what we can. As long as I don't pass out, I'm doing fine.
Would you be surprised to know that the "gold standard" cath is not always interpreted correctly/and or the equipment is sometimes bad? This is true, but not very funny. Just do a search on the subject. They have an erroneous rate just like a stress test.
You won't believe this, but, my neighbor had chest pains. He went to the ER in the Flashy ride. The same group of cardios that I see, had someone to perform a cath. Clean as a whistle he was. Still all the nitro they pumped into him that night probably saved his life. Anyway, this cardio group would not give him an appointment. They had diagnosed him with GERD. Nothing more that they could do for him. 2 weeks later, he had a massive heart attack. His life was saved by a member of this same group of cardios. He had CABG and now sports a nice ICD.
I had my 9th and 10th cath at the Cleveland Clinic. If you try to follow the 10th from the ninth, you will get lost. I meticulously went over the contradictions between the 2, typed them up and sent a blistering fax to my doctor at the CC. I expect him to answer them soon.
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