Ask The Doctors: August 2010
You are right that classic heart attack symptoms consist of chest discomfort (pain, pressure, heaviness, or constriction), sometimes extending into one of the arms. Shortness of breath and heavy sweating are often also present. However, it has become increasingly recognized that a heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), can present in many different ways—almost as diverse as the individuals who get them. If arm pain occurs, we cannot reliably judge whether or not this is an MI based upon whether it is the left arm, right arm, or both.