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Half of adults in England do not feel confident in spotting signs of a heart attack

There is a lack of confidence among the public in recognising the symptoms of a heart attack, with nearly half (45%) of adults saying they were not confident they could recognise the signs, a survey by NHS England has revealed

Over a third (36%) claimed they would not call 999 if they or a loved one were experiencing chest pain – the most common symptom of a heart attack. People’s chances of surviving a heart attack are far higher if they seek care earlier – overall around 7 in 10 people survive a heart attack, which increases to more than 9 in 10 for those who reach hospital early to receive treatment.

‘Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK, but we know that 9 in 10 people will survive a heart attack if they reach hospital early – which is why it is so crucial that people are aware of the symptoms of a heart attack and act upon them,’ said Professor Nick Linker, cardiologist and NHS England’s national clinical director for heart disease.

The new survey also shows that there is real confusion between heart attack and cardiac arrest – with nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents saying they are unaware of the difference between the two and over half (51%) wrongly believing a cardiac arrest is another name for a heart attack.

‘Every moment that passes during a heart attack increases heart muscle damage and nearly all of this damage occurs in the first few hours of an attack, so if you experience pain or squeezing across your chest, accompanied with a feeling of unease, it’s vital to call 999 and check your symptoms,’ added Professor Linker.