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Is there a test that can tell if you've had previous heart attacks?

13 answers | Last updated: Sep 25, 2015
Sherri asked...

I just read the 7 heart attack symptoms in women compared to men. I have encountered chest pain at least 3 or 4 times in this past year. The last time was fairly recently but the pain was more intense in my right jaw, neck and ear. Each episode of pain will last about 20 minutes or so. I never went to the hospital or called my doctor because I thought for a heart attack, the pain would be more dominant in the chest and on the left side of the body. My question is, could have these have been mild heart attacks? I have to say the pain gets pretty intense and it does scare me. I would also like to know is there a test that shows if you have had past heart attacks? After reading the information on heart attacks in women, I definitely will go to the hospital if it ever happens again!


Carolyn Strimike, N.P. and Margie Latrella, N.P. are cardiac nurse practitioners specializing in the prevention of heart disease and stroke. They have over 40...
45% helpful

Glad to hear you plan to go to the hospital if this ever happens again. The pain you have experienced in the past could be related to heart problems and See also:
7 Heart Attack Signs Women -- And Doctors -- Often Miss

See all 44 questions about Heart Attacks
should be evaluated. You may have been experiencing angina which is a warning sign of an impending heart attack. A heart attack causes permanent muscle damage and there are tests to identify past heart attacks. Some of the tests that may help identify past heart attacks include: electrocardiogram (ECG), nuclear stress test and an echocardiogram. You should discuss your symptoms and risk factors with your healthcare provider to determine which test would be appropriate for you. Do not wait - get it checked out! When you are experiencing chest pain your body is telling you "something" is not right and you need to pay attention.


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56% helpful
RRC answered...

When I had my heart attack in 1999 I never had angina pain in my chest. I had pain in the back of my neck and both shoulders felt heavy. I had a warning one day which I ignored and a week later I had a heart attack. I can tell you from experience suspected angina pains should be checked out right away by going to the E.R.or seeing a cardiologist. If I had sought imediate care I might not have the heart and circulation problems I now have. This advice is for someone who is not now on nitro. If taking nitro follow the 5 minute rule and if still having problems then have someone take you to the ER. RRC


29% helpful
pop truax answered...

Sherri everybody is different when it comes to signs of a heart attack. Your signs sound as though you may have some type of heart prob. There some different test to determine if you have had A heart attack.You need to discuss them with a good heart specialist. In the mean time, you might go to a webb site,named web md, they can help you find a lot of information to help you. Take care & may God bless & keep you safe.


devotedmom/wife answered...

to RRC, what was "the warning" the week before your attack? I am afraid that I may be having some of the symptoms mentioned, however, an ECG/EKG, (one of those heart tests)came back fine, according to my doc. I HAVE NOT been feeling "like myself". As someone who has experienced a heart attack, can you give me some advice and/or suggestions? THX


50% helpful
RRC answered...

To devotedmom/wife: I know now the pains I had were a warning. My wife wanted me to go straight to the ER but I was pig headed. They can also test your blood to tell if you are having a heart attack. I would suggest you go to a good cardiologist and see if they will put a heart monitor on you for 24 hours. A monitor can tell a lot. Keep after them. Seems doctors don't want to do much for you anymore. Good luck,RRC


100% helpful
sh33na answered...

They used so say a typical symptom, especially in men, was denial that there was anything going on with the heart.


jbee answered...

I have had a few episodes of spasms in my throat & chest that last between 2-5 minutes. They feel like air pockets that are moving around inside of me. They only happen every once in a while. Could this be related to my heart. I have no history of heart trouble yet but my family has a history of it. I have high cholelsterol and take cholesterol medicine. Has anyone had similar symptoms. Thanks.


Harish123 answered...

For me, I had pain on both the arms fo rthe whole day, a week before I got Heart-attack. right at the joints also some mild chest pains. I thought this was something like a regular pain because of improper sleeping postures or something else.

This is a big symptom, somebody who are facing this should be aware and watch doctor immediately and take their prescription.

Nothing to ge worried as it is just a health issue, this can be corrected from there too.

Regards Harish


Lucky to be here! answered...

Everyone's symptoms can be different. I am a woman. Last year at work I broke out into a cold sweat and immediately felt I had to vomit. I ran to the bathroom but only had dry heaves. This happened twice. After the second time I said I had to leave because I did not feel well. I drove home (8 miles) and asked my husband to drive me to the clinic (12 miles away). By the time I got home I felt like I had a hair ball at the back of my throat (similar to an allergic reaction to a cat) and had trouble breathing, I also had pain in both arms in the muscles and the bones as well as pain in my back. When I arrived at urgent care at the clinic and after I checked in and was called into the exam room I was also experiencing pain in my teeth. I told the PA all of my symptoms and she looked into my ears, throat and listened to my chest and back and told me I had a bad case of the flu and she would write a prescription for vicadin for the pain and an anti nausea medication. I asked if it was possible that I could have had a heart attack and she said she didn't see any sign of that. During the exam I asked this question twice. She finally said that there would be no way to tell unless I had an EKG done. She asked if I would like to have one and I said yes. As soon as I was hooked up they immediately started shoving aspirin into my mouth and moved me into a different room. The ended up calling an ambulance to transfer me to another hospital that had a cardiac cath. lab. Luckily they had just finished with someone else and they were waiting for me. I had what they referred to as the widow maker or in my case the widower maker. They placed a stent in my LAD and noted that I would also need one in my circumflex. (This was done a moth later at a hospital that was part of my insurance plan). I was told in the ambulance that I was having a heart attack and that the symptoms in women are different than they are for men. I was in the Cardiac ICU in just over 3 hours after I left work. An EKG is such a simple procedure that if in doubt be sure to ask for. An EKG can tell if you are having a heart attack and if you have had a prior attack. If I had not asked for the EKG and gone home with the pain medication and anti nausea medication, I would have either died on the way home soon after I got home. I did not know that I was having a heart attack, I did not know that all of these symptoms that I was experiencing were because of a heart attack, but, the PA should have known.


fazerbea answered...

I think I might have had one last night, I had severe pain in my left chest, pain and fullness in my arm pit and and left arm; it lasted for severe for at least a half an hour, then I had pain until I fell asleep which was maybe in an hour or 2. My husband wanted to take me to the doctor but my daughter had the car, he wanted to call an ambulance but I was to embarrased. it is 5.25 am about 4 hours later. Should I go to the hospital? Do you think I had a heart attack?



I am a male and at 47 in decent shape I had a heart attack. For me I had no pain at 1st. I just felt nervous. Then my lower jaw started to ache in a way I never felt before. For the past 7 years I had been under the care of a cardiologist for blood pressure. Got an EKG twice a year, simple stress test one a year and one nuke stress test. They told me your heart is good. In the ER I told them could not be my heart I get reg check ups. For me all that time and all those test showed nothing. I am told the only way to get a real look is a heart cath.


gem11 answered...

I passed out while driving last week. I immediately went to the emergency walk in place, they did an ekg and showed nothing. 2 days later I felt weak and had pain in my arms and saw my regular dr. He sad he thought I passed out because my sugar was low. The next day I was in the ER with pain in my arms again. Again EKG showed nothing. I have been out of it since I passed out and have pain up and down my left arm all day long. Tomorrow I see a cardiologist to see what he says. I also had a monitor on for 24 hours that showed noting but I feel terrible. Don't know what to think anymore,