NHS Tayside appeal to people to attend hospital if heart attack is suspected

The public are being urged to seek help and attend hospital as they would have done before COVID-19 if they are experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack.  

Clinicians are urging anyone experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack to seek help and attend hospital for treatment, despite the pandemic.  

Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Tom Martin said, “Throughout the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the number of patients delaying their attendance at Ninewells with acute heart attacks. This means that patients have not come to hospital at the first signs of a heart attack, which is a concern as any delay in treating a heart attack increases risk of death.  

“We know that people are doing their best to stay at home as much as possible to help protect the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also know that people may be anxious about whether they should contact health services for non-coronavirus concerns.

“We want to reassure you all that we are still here to help. It is really important not to ignore the warning signs of serious conditions.  Please seek help immediately if you have concerns about symptoms of a heart attack by phoning 999. If it was urgent before COVID-19, it’s still urgent now.

“We know people might be concerned about having to come in to a hospital, but we want to reassure you that we have taken every precaution to keep our staff and patients safe and protect them from COVID-19.  

“Patients attending or admitted to hospital for a non-coronavirus concerns will be managed in a separate area from suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.  All our staff have been trained in infection control measures and will be wearing the appropriate PPE.   

“Your health and wellbeing is our priority so please seek help if you need to. Remember, if it was urgent before COVID-19, it is urgent now.”

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:  

  • chest pain – the chest can feel like it’s being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object, and pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling weak or lightheaded, or both
  • an overwhelming feeling of anxiety
  • It’s important to know that not everyone experiences severe chest pain. This is particularly the case with many women. The pain can often be mild and mistaken for indigestion.
  • It’s the combination of symptoms that’s important in determining whether a person is having a heart attack and not the severity of chest pain.
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