Vinay Gupta, a 55-year-old resident of Delhi, suffered a “silent” heart attack in July 2020.

We caught up with his cardiologist Dr Udgeath Dhir, director and head of Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram Adult CTVS to understand what this condition really is.

A silent heart attack, also referred to as Silent Myocardial Infarction (SMI), is a serious, life-threatening condition.

“Being vigilant about all the tell-tale signs and red flags that the body experiences can help save your life,” says Dr Dhir.

He shares the five signs of a silent heart attack:


1. Direction of pain “The pain that one feels during a silent attack can radiate from the earlobe down to the umbilicus (navel),” says Dr Dhir.

2. Post prandial sweating “If you find yourself sweating excessively after a meal,  or experience a tightening of the chest, these signs must be investigated at the earliest,” the doctor adds.

3. Pain in the throat and jaw “I have had patients tell me they feel pain and tightness in their jaw and throat area after they exercise or physically exert themselves. This is referred to as ‘Anginal equivalents’,” he says.

4. High BP “In cases where there is a known family history of high BP or elevated sugar levels, such people must begin their screening process as early as 30,” says Dr Dhir.

5. Difficulty in breathing Going by Vinay’s symptoms, a silent heart attack does not present symptoms as an ordinary one.

“I would feel like my chest was constricting and I had difficulty breathing. Standing in front of the AC seemed to bring some amount of relief, and therefore I started doing that,” he recounted.