Heart Attack Treatment – First Aid Advice

Heart Attack treatment – Introduction

Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease, which is when your coronary arteries narrow due to a gradual build-up of atheroma (fatty material) within their walls. If the atheroma becomes unstable, a piece may break off and lead to a blood clot forming.

This clot can block the coronary artery, starving your heart of blood and oxygen and causing damage to your heart muscle - this is a heart attack. It is also called acute coronary syndrome, myocardial infarction or coronary thrombosis. A heart attack is life threatening. If you think you or anyone else is having a heart attack, you should phone 999 for an ambulance immediately.

Heart Attack treatment and recognition

  • Unexplained anxiety
  • Possible collapse without warning
  • Profuse sweating, skin cold to the touch
  • Breathlessness
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Persistent central chest pain – often described as vice-like or a heavy crushing pressure
  • Ashen skin and blueness at the lips
  • Rapid, weak pulse which may be irregular
  • Gasping for air (air hunger)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Pain spreading (radiating) to the jaw, neck and down one or both arms

You are more likely to survive a heart attack if you phone 999 straight away.

Should I take an aspirin if I think I am having a heart attack?

The first thing to do if you think you’re having a heart attack is to phone 999 immediately for an ambulance.

You should then sit and rest while you wait for the ambulance to arrive. If you are not allergic to aspirin and have some next to you, or if there is someone with you who can fetch them for you, chew an aspirin. However, if they are not nearby, the person with you should not go hunting for aspirin, they should stay with you.

Do not get up and wander around the house looking for an aspirin. This may put unnecessary strain on your heart.

Causes of a heart attack

The UK has one of the worst heart attack rates in the world. It’s estimated that someone has a heart attack every two minutes in the UK. More than 1.4 million people have angina and each year about 275,000 people have a heart attack. Of these, more than 120,000 are fatal.

Common causes include:

  • Atherosclerosis, where fatty plaques build up on the inner lining of the coronary arteries (often compared to the furring up you see inside a kettle)
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease

Men are also more likely to have a heart attack than women.

There are many steps you can take to change your lifestyle and reduce your risk, including quitting smoking, eating healthily and keeping your weight under control, and getting regular exercise.

Mr Bean tries his hand at first aid. Maybe not the best idea!

Further information on Heart attacks can be found here:

Wikipedia – Heart Attacks

The British Red Cross

The British Heart Foundation

heart attack treatment – GK First Aid Training offer a number of First Aid Courses that deal with the condition of Heart Conditions. We offer both the 1 Day Emergency First Aid at Work and the 3 Day First Aid at Work Course. Both of these courses can be delivered directly to you in your workplace. Call us directly on 0800 774 7034 to discuss your requirements.