Is This An Emergency?

What should I do if I feel really sick?

You know your body better than anyone. So, if you feel really sick, it’s important that you let others know and go to the closest hospital.

Our patients can feel sick for lots of reasons, including:

  • Palpitations (heart racing or skipping a beat)
  • Fainting/dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Bleeding
  • Fevers, sweats, shakes

The safest way to go to hospital is by ambulance and we want you to call 9-1-1 if you feel really sick. It’s better to get checked out sooner rather than later. If you go to a hospital that is not your usual hospital, ask doctors there to contact your usual congenital heart disease providers. You might even want to call them yourself to let them know that you’re in the hospital. We can talk to people from that hospital over the phone to help with medical decisions.

How do I know when to call an ambulance?

It’s simple – if you ever feel really unwell, the safest thing you can do is shout out for help and then call 9-1-1 for an ambulance.

How can I prepare for future emergencies?

The best way to try to avoid emergencies is to come to your cardiology appointments on a regular basis.

But emergencies do happen, even when you have been doing your best to look after your heart.
So, like the Boy Scouts say: Be Prepared!

Take charge of your health! Keep a list of the following info in your wallet and phone:

  • Your name and date of birth
  • Emergency contacts (like your parents, other family member, partner or best friend)
  • Name and phone number of your cardiologist
  • Name of your cardiac condition and your major surgeries (a copy of your recent clinic letter is helpful when you travel)
  • Current medications and doses
  • Allergies (if you have any)

Lots of patients wear Medic-Alert bracelets ( or and this can be very helpful to doctors and nurses who don’t know you well (like the kind you see in Emergency Departments). When you go to the heart doctor, you can ask for a copy of your clinic note that summarizes your condition. You should keep a copy of this in case of emergency.