Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/First aid/Heart attack
A heart attack is when blood supply to part of the heart is interrupted causing heart tissue to die. Symptoms of a heart attack include severe chest pain, looking pale, sweating, and feeling sick. A heart attack is a medical emergency, and it is a leading cause of death for both men and women.
First aid includes the following:
- Seek emergency medical assistance immediately.
- Help the patient to rest in a position which minimizes breathing difficulties. A half-sitting position with knees bent is often recommended.
- Give access to more oxygen, e.g. by opening the window and widening the collar for easier breathing; but keep the patient warm, e.g. by a blanket or a jacket
- Give aspirin, if the patient is not allergic to aspirin. Aspirin inhibits formation of further blood clots.
- Non-coated or soluble preparations are preferred. These should be chewed or dissolved, respectively, to facilitate quicker absorption. If the patient cannot swallow, the aspirin can be placed under the tongue.
- U.S. guidelines recommend a dose of 160 – 325 mg.
- Australian guidelines recommend a dose of 150 – 300 mg.
- If it has been prescribed for the patient, give nitroglycerin tablets under the tongue.
- Monitor pulse, breathing, level of consciousness and, if possible, the blood pressure of the patient continually.
- Administer CPR if cardiac arrest occurs (that is, if the heart stops).