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Chest Pain: After Your Visit

Your Care Instructions

Picture of areas of chest pain associated with heart attack

There are many things that can cause chest pain. Some are not serious and will get better on their own in a few days. But some kinds of chest pain need more testing and treatment. Your doctor may have recommended a follow-up visit in the next 8 to 12 hours. If you are not getting better, you may need more tests or treatment.

Even though your doctor has released you, you still need to watch for any problems. The doctor carefully checked you, but sometimes problems can develop later. If you have new symptoms or if your symptoms do not get better, get medical care right away.

If you have worse or different chest pain or pressure that lasts more than 5 minutes or you passed out (lost consciousness), call 911 or seek other emergency help right away.

A medical visit is only one step in your treatment. Even if you feel better, you still need to do what your doctor recommends, such as going to all suggested follow-up appointments and taking medicines exactly as directed. This will help you recover and help prevent future problems.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Rest until you feel better.
  • Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Do not drive after taking a prescription pain medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe difficulty breathing.
  • You have symptoms of a heart attack. These may include:
    • Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in your chest.
    • Sweating.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Nausea or vomiting.
    • Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in your back, neck, jaw, or upper belly or in one or both shoulders or arms.
    • Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
    • A fast or irregular heartbeat.
    After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.

Call your doctor today if:

  • You have any trouble breathing.
  • Your chest pain gets worse.
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You are not getting better as expected.
  • You are having new or different chest pain.

Last Revised: February 13, 2013

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Care instructions adapted under license by Kaiser Permanente. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.


The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.

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