Mike woke up this morning at 5 a.m. with a headache. He figured he was coming down with the flu or a cold because he couldn’t stop coughing and had a squeezing sensation in his chest, making it hard to breathe. His legs appeared to be swollen and, as he lay in bed, his heart felt like it was skipping a beat. These symptoms are very similar to how Mike feels when he gets anxious about work, including chest pain, perceived abnormal heartbeat, and shortness of breath.

Since Mike was up late last night preparing his notes for an important meeting, he thought he was either anxious about the meeting or had a severe case of GERD, but Carol decided he needed to go to the emergency department (ED) at Hitech Medical Center. He didn’t want to go — he thought he could just chew a few antacids and lay down for a while. However, Carol reminded him of his medical history — high blood pressure and high cholesterol – so instead of waiting until his condition worsened, Carol called 911.

Mike arrives at the ED by ambulance where he is met by a triage nurse who determines that Mike needs immediate attention.

  1. Review Mike’s Story: What information, from Mike’s story, does the triage nurse use to determine that Mike needs immediate assistance?

  2. Internet Research: Review Mike’s signs and symptoms from his story. Using WebMD’s Symptom Checker, what possible conditions could Mike be experiencing?

  3. Internet Research: What mental health issues are common for those diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF)?