A heart attack is actually the end of a process that typically evolves over several hours. With each passing minute, more heart tissue is deprived of blood and deteriorates or dies. However, if blood flow is restored in time, damage to the heart can be limited and even prevented.
People often take a wait-and-see approach, delaying because they:
Most heart attack victims wait 2 hours or more before they seek medical help - the very time when treatment is most effective. This delay can result in death or permanent heart damage – damage that can greatly reduce the ability to do everyday activities.
For more information on Heart Attacks:
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute