What Will an Ambulance Do for Chest Pain?

When a person dials 911 for an ambulance to respond to a case of chest pain, paramedics will arrive to assess the situation, perform first aid care, administer necessary medication, and then transport the patient to the nearest healthcare facility to see a specialist.

You can learn more about what an ambulance can do for chest pain with our Video Vault. This guide includes multiple resources, including a paramedic pharmacology practice test and answers to questions like, “What drugs do paramedics use for asthma attacks?” These tools aim to help aspiring paramedics pass the NREMT (National Registry of Medical Technicians) exam.

Types of Chest Pain Emergencies

Chest pain can manifest in different ways. Here are the most common types of chest pains that ambulances respond to:

Heart-Related Chest Pains

Heart-related chest pains are the usual cases for this type of emergency. Chest pain can be a warning sign of a heart attack, where one or more arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle are blocked. 

Chest pain can also be diagnosed as angina, which is characterized by discomfort caused by the heart not getting enough blood and oxygen. Angina is a symptom of an underlying heart condition–typically, coronary heart disease.

Chest pain can also be a symptom of other heart issues, such as:

  • Pericarditis: Sharp or stabbing pain caused by an inflammation of the protective sac surrounding the heart
  • Myocarditis: Inflammation of the heart muscle that can weaken the heart and cause abnormal heart rhythm
  • Cardiomyopathy: Heart disease that affects how the heart pumps blood around the body
  • Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD): When the layers of the wall of an artery split or separate, reducing or blocking blood flow

Indigestion or Heartburn

Reflux happens when acid from the stomach travels up the esophagus, causing a burning pain in the chest.

Cholecystitis or Pancreatitis

Chest pain is a common symptom of an inflamed gallbladder (cholecystitis) or pancreas (pancreatitis).

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs.

Chest Infections

Chest infections–such as bronchitis and pneumonia–usually trigger pains in the chest.

Chest Trauma

Trauma to the chest, like rib fractures, will likely cause pain in the breast area.


Costochondritis is the inflammation in the rib joints near the breastbone, which can aggravate feeling in the chest area.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can often stress the heart, causing pain in the chest.

What an Ambulance Can Do for Chest Pain

Calling an ambulance is the best thing a person can do if they or a loved one experiences chest pain. In an ambulance, paramedics can monitor the patient, provide treatment and medication, and transport the patient to the nearest hospital for specialist care.


Paramedics are trained to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG), which records the heart’s electrical activity and reveals if the patient is having a heart attack. This reading can speed up treatment once the patient reaches the hospital.


As soon as the ambulance arrives, paramedics can immediately treat the patient to alleviate the pain they feel in the chest by administering medication.


Once the patient is stable, an ambulance can transport them to a medical facility to be transferred to a specialist who can better address their symptoms and other conditions.

Learn How to Deal with Chest Pains as a Paramedic

Aspiring paramedics must be adept in the procedures in responding to chest pains as these emergencies represent many cases in emergency medical services (EMS) responses each year. Our Video Vault contains everything you need to know about being a paramedic, including how to proceed with chest pain calls. Get lifetime access for only $147 today!

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