Health Tips

How Long Does a Heart Attack Last?

A heart attack or myocardial infarction is a medical emergency in which blood flow is reduced from the coronary arteries to the heart. The blood supply may be wholly or partially blocked. A heart attack is a life-threatening condition if not treated immediately. It is of interest to know how long does a heart attack last. In addition, it is important to know the basic anatomy of the heart and the signs and symptoms associated with a heart attack. These symptoms may vary according to the onset, duration, and intensity.

A blocked blood supply makes your heart deficient in nutrients, oxygen, and other essential supplies. Lack of blood supply may cause transient or permanent damage to the cardiac muscle. A heart attack is one of the leading causes of death in the US, common among women and men. There is a difference between angina pain and heart attack pain. The difference lies in the question of: how long does a heart attack last.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

Before knowing how long does a heart attack last, let us know some points about heart attack. Heart attack presents itself with multiple symptoms, varying from one person to another. There are some generalized symptoms associated with a heart attack. Let us have a detailed look at the diagnostic features of a heart attack.

  • Chest pain (a feeling of tightness) – Chest pain is a feeling of pressure or heaviness felt across your chest.
  • Referred pain (pain in other areas of the body) – chest pain spreads towards other parts of the body. The most common areas are usually the left arm, lower jaw, neck, stomach, and back.
  • Feeling faint or light-headed
  • Cold sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Panic attack
  • Wheezing sounds or coughing

How long does a heart attack last?

Symptoms of a mild heart attack last for about two to five minutes. After this, the recovery period of cardiac muscle fiber starts. The symptoms of a heart attack may stop for a few minutes and continue again after a few minutes. In this way, heart attack symptoms may occur intermittently for several hours. But in case of severe heart attack, symptoms may last up to half an hour. The recovery phase depends on cardiac muscle damage.

In several cases, these symptoms start gradually, causing only mild chest pain and discomfort. In contrast to this, sometimes the chest pain can be sudden and severe lasting for more than 20 minutes. Seek immediate medical care to prevent any medical emergency. After knowing how long does a heart attack last, let us know more details about this topic.

How long does it take to recover after a heart attack?

Let’s know about the recovery phase in addition to how long does a heart attack last. The recovery phase after a heart attack varies from person to person. In addition, it depends on multiple factors associated with the patient’s general health and the damage after the heart attack. Heart attack causes a variable amount of damage to the cardiac muscle depending on the duration of the heart attack. Most people recover just a few days after the heart attack depending on the damage to the heart muscles. Some people have to undergo bypass surgery to deal with the damage of heart attacks. Such people need to stay in the hospital for a week or more.

The recovery period for some people is about two weeks. They can go back to their normal daily life activities without any difficulty. Whereas, some people require several months to recover from the damage of a heart attack. Along with how long does a heart attack last, it is also a question that comes in mind.

What are the common causes of a heart attack?

A heart attack is the general blockage of the blood supply to heart muscles. There are some main medical problems that can interrupt the blood supply of cardiac muscles. It is important that we know these causes in addition to how long does a heart attack last. Some of the main medical problems are as follows:

  • Coronary heart disease is one of the main causes of a heart attack. In this disease, blood vessels supplying blood to the heart may get clogged due to the deposition of cholesterol. These cholesterol deposits are known as plaques. These plaques rupture causing a blood clot to develop in the blood vessel of the heart. Moreover, these clots may disrupt the blood supply to the cardiac muscles leading to a heart attack.
  • Atherosclerosis is also one of the main causes of cholesterol deposition in the arteries. It can also lead to a heart attack.

What is the treatment plan for a heart attack?

After knowing how long does a heart attack last, let’s have a look into it’s treatment. The earlier you seek medical care, the easier it is to manage a heart attack. If you find the above-mentioned symptoms in any person, ask for immediate help. Call an ambulance as soon as possible.

According to the American Heart Association, it is stated that calling an ambulance will help you to initiate treatment almost an hour earlier than traveling in a car. In addition, arriving at the hospital in an ambulance will help you to get faster treatment than the others.

It is important to know how to stop a heart attack. Let’s have a look at it’s treatment plan. It is recommended to take an aspirin tablet of 300 mg while waiting for an ambulance. A person can take aspirin if he or she is not allergic to aspirin. Aspirin is a blood thinner that can help to maintain the blood flow from the blood vessels to the heart. A person must take any prescribed medicine related to heart problems.

Besides this, there is a proper treatment plan for heart attack. Aspirin helps to prevent further damage to the cardiac muscles by making the blood thinner than normal. In addition to the topic how long does a heart attack last, The treatment plan is as follows:

Treatment for a heart attack varies according to the type of heart attack. A doctor may go for catheterization or stent placement.

Catheterization includes placing a tube into the heart by making a small incision in the groin or arm. A stent is usually placed in the artery and helps to make the artery quite open and clots to pass without blocking the artery. This was the treatment of heart attack in addition to the topic of how long does a heart attack last.

Immediate medical care

The initial treatment strategy for heart attack is as follows:

  • Aspirin – it prevents the blood from clotting by making it thinner.
  • Nitroglycerin – it improves blood flow.
  • Oxygen supply – it increases the perfusion of the cardiac muscles and increases oxygen levels.
  • Treatment by reducing chest pain and discomfort

In addition to how long does a heart attack last, these points on immediate medical care is important.

Surgical procedures

Surgical treatment includes the restoration of the blood flow to the heart. For such patients, surgical methods include bypass surgery. Heart Bypass Surgery helps in the redirecting of the blood flow surrounding the affected area.

Pharmaceutical management

A physician may prescribe different kinds of medication to dissolve blood clots in the vessels. Medicines that dissolve such blood clots are known as thrombolytics. Your doctor may prescribe you medicine to prevent any further incidence of a heart attack. These medicines may include:

  • Blood thinners like Aspirin
  • Beta-blockers
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors

What are the common complications of a heart attack?

A heart attack may induce multiple complications associated with the heart. These complications are serious and occur just after the heart. Moreover, these complications are life-threatening and may cause death. In addition, these complications depend on several factors. Knowing these factors in addition to how long does a heart attack last is important. These factors are as follows:

  • Age – as you grow older, there is a greater chance to induce serious complications.
  • Severity – these complications depend on the severity level of the heart attack. It defines how much your cardiac muscles are damaged due to a heart attack.
  • Medical care – immediate medical care decreases the chances of these complications. So, seek medical care immediately if you find any symptoms of a heart attack.


Some of the common complications are as follows:

  • Arrhythmias – it describes abnormal heartbeats. In this condition, the heart continues to beat faster and faster and ultimately stops beating, leading to cardiac arrest.
  • Cardiogenic shock – in this condition, cardiac muscles are severely damaged due to a heart attack. Due to severe damage, these cardiac muscles stop contracting to continue the blood supply. For this reason, the blood supply is blocked to performing important body functions.
  • Heart rupture – it is an extreme condition of the heart in which cardiac muscles, valves, and walls get ruptured after a heart attack.

Most people don’t recover from these complications. They usually die on the spot from these complications of a heart attack before reaching the hospital. Moreover, these conditions are unable to recover within a month after a heart attack. As a result, most people die. When knowing about heart attack it is also important to know these complications in addition to how long does a heart attack last.

How can we prevent a heart attack?

Heart attack or myocardial infarction is a medical emergency leading to multiple complications and increased mortality rate. There are several risk factors associated with a heart attack. You can prevent a heart attack by disrupting the chain of risk factors. Healthy Heart Tips can help prevent heart attack. These are some of the ways to prevent a heart attack.

  • If you smoke continuously, quit your habit of smoking to prevent heart attack.
  • Obese or overweight people are at higher risk to induce a heart attack. Reduce your body weight to break the chain of a heart attack.
  • Maintain your daily habit of exercising for at least 150 minutes per week.
  • Take a balanced diet, low in fats but high in dietary fibers. Add whole grains, proteins, and complex sugars to your diet. Try to include Healthy Heart Supplements in your diet.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption.
  • Take proper medical care for the following diseases:
  • high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High cholesterol levels


A heart attack is a life-threatening medical condition. There are different symptoms associated with a heart attack. In addition, these symptoms vary from person to person. Moreover, these symptoms may differ in presentation, severity, onset, and duration. Some people notice these symptoms suddenly. Whereas, other people may exhibit these symptoms gradually. Whenever you feel symptoms like this, seek immediate medical care to get treated as soon as possible.

Mentioning about how long does a heart attack last, a heart attack may last from a few minutes to more than 20 minutes, depending on the severity of the heart attack. You may take aspirin if you are not allergic to the aspirin-like medication. Receiving immediate medical care is the main key to preventing any problem. Maintain your healthy lifestyle to prevent life-threatening heart attack.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is it possible to last symptoms of a heart attack for a day?

Heart attack symptoms may be intermittent, stopping after a few minutes and starting again. But, if you feel chest pain continuously for a day, this may not be a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms of a heart attack may last from a few minutes to half an hour.

What kind of minor heart attack feel?

A minor heart attack presents with a symptom of chest pain. The pain is just like pressure, tightness, and squeezing type of pain. Pain may radiate toward different areas of the body.

Dr. Rahul Kushwaha

Rahul Kumar Kushwaha, MBBS, is an intern doctor at a prestigious college in Bangladesh, North East Medical College, situated in South SurmaPamila, on the outskirts of Sylhet, Bangladesh. He is one of the team members and Founder of WOMS and has been working since the beginning of WOMS. Similarly, he is also the founder of the pregnancy journey app and the auscultation world app.

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