Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/First aid/Heart attack

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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 the victim is unconscious and non-breathing.