Would you know what to do if someone was experiencing a heart attack? It’s important not to panic in this situation. Being equipped with the medical knowledge to deal with an emergency like this can not only help keep the patient calm, but it could also save their life. This article will outline how to give first aid to someone experiencing a heart attack.
Spot the Symptoms
If somebody is experiencing chest pains it could signal that they are having a heart attack. This occurs when part of the heart muscle is deprived of the blood it needs due to a clogged artery. The greater the time it takes for treatment to arrive and blood flow to be restored, the greater the likelihood of complications and even death. It is vital to be able to spot the symptoms, such as the following:
- Pressure, pain, or tightness in the center of the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling faint or lightheaded
- Pain that spreads to the arms, jaw, neck, back, or stomach
- Nausea or vomiting
The more symptoms a person displays the greater the chances they are having a heart attack.
Apply First Aid
When it comes to a heart attack, time is of the essence. The first hour after a heart attack is the most important and is known as “the golden hour.” Taking the right action within this hour can save a person’s life.
1. Call 911 as soon as possible. A heart attack can be fatal so the patient will require immediate medical attention. If you cannot call for help yourself then ask someone else to do so.
2. Help move the person to a comfortable position. The best position is a half-sitting position on the floor, with knees bent and head and shoulders supported. On the floor is also the safest position if the patient were to collapse or faint.
3. Loosen any tight clothing such as a tie or belt making it easier for the person to breathe.
4. Ask the person if they have been prescribed any chest pain medication, such as nitroglycerin for an existing heart condition. If so, help them take it.
5. If they do not take any medication, help them to take an aspirin, if possible, as this will thin the blood preventing it from clotting. Check that they are not allergic to aspirin or have been advised not to take it by their doctor, before administering.
6. If the person is unconscious and has stopped breathing begin CPR. With straight arms, push down onto the center of the person’s chest using your own body weight. Apply enough pressure to compress their chest about two inches and at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
7. Instead of CPR, if an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available follow the instructions for use.
Unfortunately, you can not always be on hand in a medical emergency such as a heart attack and this can be a concern especially if you have loved ones with heart conditions. Thankfully, there are medical health technologies available that can ensure help will be on its way at the push of a button. To give you some peace of mind, click here to learn more.