The purpose of this study was to identify, through in-depth interview, factors that influenced 27 Hong Kong Chinese patients' decision-making in seeking early treatment for acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The median delay time from the onset of symptoms to arrival at the hospital was 15.6 hours for men and 53.7 hours for women. Three major categories emerged from the data: (a) becoming aware of the threat, (b) maintaining a sense of normality, and (c) struggling to mobilize resources. A variety of decisions were made by patients from the onset of chest pain to seeking help. These decisions were heavily influenced by healthcare factors (access to emergency medical service (EMS) and treatment), personal factors (cognitive interpretations of symptoms), sociocultural factors (family situation, cultural beliefs, and practices), and coping strategies.