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Chest Pain Center at UPMC in Central Pa.

At UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, we take chest pain seriously. That's why we offer an advanced and immediate system for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of patients experiencing chest pain.

At UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, we provide comprehensive, life-saving heart attack care from diagnosis through treatment and recovery.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack, which is also called a myocardial infarction, is a life-threatening condition that occurs when blood flow through one or more of the arteries leading to your heart is blocked. Blockages inside your arteries are most often caused by a buildup of a cholesterol-containing substance called plaque.

When blood flow to your heart is interrupted, parts of your heart muscle can be damaged or destroyed. This damage can lead to other heart problems, including:

If you experience heart attack symptoms, call 911 immediately and ask to be taken to one of UPMC in central Pa.'s hospitals with 24/7 heart catheterization services:

How do I know if I am having a heart attack?

Heart attack symptoms vary from person to person. For example, some people may not notice any symptoms at all or have mild warning signs in advance, while others have sudden, severe symptoms. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing a heart attack:

  • Tightness, pressure, pain, aching or a feeling of fullness in your chest
  • Chest pain that radiates to your back, neck, jaw, shoulders or arms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cold sweats
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness

Who is at risk for a heart attack?

If you have had a previous heart attack or have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, you are at a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack. Other risk factors include:

  • Age. Men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55 have an increased risk of heart attack
  • Chronic conditions. Uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, high cholesterol and obesity can raise your risk of having a heart attack.
  • Family history. If your parents, grandparents or siblings have had a heart attack, you may be at a higher risk.
  • Lifestyle. Smoking, lack of exercise, illegal drug use and stress can make you more likely to have a heart attack.

Concerned about your risk for heart attack or coronary artery disease? Ask your doctor if a Coronary Calcium Screening is right for you.

How are heart attacks diagnosed?

Our doctors, nurses and technicians are specially trained to work as a team for quick evaluation and treatment of patients who have symptoms of a heart attack.

If your health care providers think you may be having a heart attack, they will initiate a special UPMC central Pa. heart attack protocol called Code STEMI and immediately give you an electrocardiogram (ECG) to confirm the diagnosis of a heart attack. Other diagnostic tests that can confirm a heart attack include:

How are heart attacks treated?

If you are having a heart attack, your health care providers will take you to our Cardiac Catheterization Lab for treatment as quickly as possible.

Our team will perform cardiac catheterization and angioplasty, during which a balloon-tipped catheter is guided through an artery in your groin to the blocked artery in your heart. When the catheter is in place, your doctor will inflate the balloon to remove the blockage and restore normal blood flow. Your doctor also may place a small wire mesh tube called a stent in your artery to help it stay open.

The national goal set by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association is to have 90 minutes or less pass from the first medical contact with the patient until the artery is open. All UPMC central Pa. hospitals constantly refine heart attack patient care, improving processes to help save heart muscle.

How can I prevent a heart attack?

Preventing heart disease and chronic conditions can reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight are a great start. You also should control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, avoid smoking and limit alcoholic beverages.

Need more information?

Cumberland/Dauphin/Franklin/Lebanon/Perry Counties: 717-731-0101
Hanover: 717-637-1738
York: 717-849-5576
Lancaster County: 717-299-5000

Request Information

If you experience heart attack symptoms, call 911 immediately and ask to be taken to one of UPMC hospitals in Central Pa. listed below.


UPMC Harrisburg
111 South Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: 717-782-3131

UPMC Hanover
300 Highland Avenue
Hanover, PA 17331

Phone: 717-316-3711 or 800-673-2426

UPMC Lititz
1500 Highlands Drive
Lititz, PA 17543

Phone: 717-625-5000

UPMC Memorial
1701 Innovation Drive
York, PA 17408

Phone: 800-436-4326

UPMC West Shore
1995 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717-791-2600

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