FEWER than one in 10 Australians recognise important heart attack warning signs such as jaw, neck and back pain, according to new research released by the National Heart Foundation of Australia to mark Heart Week this week.
Heart attacks kill about 10,000 Australians a year - the equivalent of a life lost every 53 minutes.
"Heart attack warning signs aren't always what you think - symptoms are not necessarily sudden or severe and some people don't experience chest pain at all," Heart Foundation chief executive Cameron Prout said.
"That's why we're calling on all Australians to learn the warning signs of heart attack during Heart Week at heartattackfacts.org.au. It could save your life, or the life of a loved one.
"Sadly, more than 50% of people who die of a heart attack don't make it to hospital so it's vital to recognise heart attack warning signs and act quickly by calling 000," he added.
The survey of almost 11,500 people aged 30-65 found while more than 75% recognised chest pain as a heart attack warning sign, awareness for other important, but less typical, symptoms was low.
Heart attack warning signs may include pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in one or more parts of the upper body (chest, neck, jaw, arms, shoulders or back) in combination with other symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or a cold sweat.