British Heart Foundation survey finds that over a third of heart attack survivors mistook their symptoms for indigestion


A survey of 500 heart attack survivors carried out by the British Heart Foundation has found that 35% believed their symptoms were indigestion, and half did not seek medical assistance for over an hour. 11 per cent of those surveyed waited for two days or longer before visiting a doctor.

It was also found that 80% of those surveyed did not initially realise that they were having a heart attack and 59% still did not realise they were having a heart attack at the point when medical assistance was sought.

These statistics are clearly worrying and The British Heart Foundation has urged people to be more aware of the symptoms of heart attack.

A heart attack strikes when a blood clot forms in a coronary artery, and stops the organ’s blood supply. Research suggests that almost half of salvageable heart muscle deteriorates after one hour of the artery becoming blocked.

Details of the symptoms of heart attack and advice on what to do are set out on The British Heart Foundation website. The most common symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • chest pain: tightness, heaviness, pain or a burning feeling in your chest
  • pain in arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach: for some people, the pain or tightness is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable
  • sweating
  • feeling light-headed
  • become short of breath
  • feeling nauseous or vomiting

If you or a member of your family have concerns regarding a GP or Hospital’s failure to recognise the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and need advice about raising your concerns with the NHS, please contact a member of our Medical Negligence Team on 0800 316 8892 or e-mail