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Pain Is Not Only Feature Of Heart Attack

August 27, 1998

In a letter in this week's BMJ, Professor Tom Treasure from St George's Hospital in London writes that the word "pain" is a red herring when discussing symptoms of a heart attack. He believes that it is medical staff who describe the sensation experienced when suffering a heart attack as "pain", as opposed to sufferers who usually gesture to the chest, neck and arm and grimace when trying to articulate what they have felt. The myth of a fat, red faced man gasping and clutching at his tie needs to be dispelled says Professor Treasure and people should be alerted to the fact that descriptions such as "tightening", "a lump in the throat", "pressure", "indigestion", "wind" and "a need to keep swallowing" are symptoms of a heart attack as well as the hallmark "15 minutes of chest pain".

Contact: Prof Tom Treasure, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St George's Hospital, London
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BMJ

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