Massachusetts General Hospital

Could you have a heart attack and not know it?

Harvard Health Blog

Here's a surprising fact: Nearly half of people who have a heart attack don't realize it at the time. These so-called silent heart attacks are only diagnosed after the event, when a recording of the heart's electrical activity (an electrocardiogram or ECG) or another test reveals evidence of damage to the heart.

One explanation for this phenomenon may be a higher-than-average tolerance for pain. Some people mistake their symptoms as indigestion or muscle pain, while others may feel pain, but in parts of their upper body other than the center of the chest, says Kenneth Rosenfield, M.D., who heads the vascular medicine and intervention section at...

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