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First Aid Treatment for Heart Attack

Important Information

The most common heart attack symptom is chest pain (angina) accompanied with pressure or squeezing in the center of the chest that lasts for several minutes, or is intermittent and reoccurring

Heart attack pain may spread to the shoulders, neck or arms; The patient may sweat or faint or complain of nausea, shortness of breath and dizziness

The patient may deny that the chest discomfort is serious enough for emergency medical care; Use your judgement and do not delay alerting EMS if you suspect a heart attack

Patient Care; Heart Attack

  • STOP - Assess and observe the scene

  • THINK - Consider your safety and form action plan

  • ACT - Check responsiveness, look for a medical alert tag bracelet and Alert EMS

  • Perform a primary and secondary assessment and monitor the patient's Cycle of Care AB-CABS; For an unresponsive patient, perform CPR as necessary

  • For a responsive patient, conduct an illness assessment; If the patient has the angina chest pains and the patient has no history of angina, alert EMS

  • If the patient has medication, assist them in taking it as prescribed; Help the patient to a comfortable position and loosen tight fitting clothes, collars, etc; The attack should ease within a few minutes

  • If the pain persists or returns, then suspect a heart attack and alert EMS; A half sitting position with knees bent is often the most comfortable position

  • Advise the patient to chew one adult (nonenteric-coated) or two low dose aspirins, if the patient is complaining of chest pains and does not have a history of allergy to aspirin and no recent gastrointestinal bleeding; This may be performed after activating the EMS system

  • Continue to monitor the patient's Cycle of Care until EMS arrives; Consider administering oxygen if available