Harvard Heart Letter
When heart attacks go unrecognized
A high pain tolerance may account for some “silent” heart attacks. But failing to recognize atypical symptoms is a more likely explanation. 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.