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First Aid Treatment For Heart Attack Victims

The number of deaths from heart-related diseases among rural Indians are elevating at a high rate due to lack of access to quality care, ignorance, poverty and smoking. A study showed that, more than 2.1 million deaths occurred due to heart ailments in 2015 in India [1] .

Around 1.3 million cardiovascular deaths, 0.9 million coronary heart disease deaths and 0.4 million stroke deaths occurred in people aged between 30-69 years.

And sometimes the number of deaths are high because the victims don't get immediate first aid treatment, especially in the cases of a heart attack. A delay in heart attack treatment can be deadly.

Many aren't aware of the heart attack symptoms and due to this many people die before they reach the hospital. The sooner the person receives treatment, there are better chances of survival.

The symptoms of a heart attack include the following:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Squeezing pain in the chest
  • Discomfort in the shoulders, neck, back, jaw, arms and upper abdomen.

A heart attack generally causes chest pain for more than 15 minutes, but sometimes it doesn't show any symptoms at all.

So, here is what you should do when a person suffers from a heart attack.

First Aid Treatment For Heart Attack

If the heart attack victim is awake and responding, these are the ways in which you can help him/her, which include the following:

  • Give 324 mg of baby aspirin or 325 mg of adult aspirin.
  • Don't give water or food to the person.
  • Keep the person comfortable and make a list of her medications if having any.
  • If you have been prescribed nitroglycerin by your doctor, take the medicine when you experience chest pain.

If the person is unconscious and still breathing normally, lower the person to the ground and keep his head relaxed in an erect position. This prevents choking by letting the saliva drain from the mouth [2] .

If the person is unconscious and not breathing, doing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) would help. This will make the person better before you take him/her to the hospital. A study shows that doing CPR before rushing the victim to the hospital had a survival rate by 12% [3] .

To perform CPR you need to do the following:

  • Place one hand over the other on the centre of the chest near the nipple area and push hard and fast.
  • Try doing 100-120 compressions per minute (follow the beat of the song staying alive)
  • Don't fear when you are performing CPR.

Defibrillation is another first aid treatment method for heart attack victims. Many public places have automatic external defibrillators (AED), a portable electronic device which gives an electric shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm [4] . These machines are very helpful and can save a heart attack victim's life.

To Conclude...

If you are near a heart attack victim, don't panic as you will lose the time in helping the person in need. If you keep yourself calm, you will be able to help him/her and save the person's life. Also, it is advisable to know how to do a CPR, as you may never know when it can come in handy in the future.

View Article References
  1. [1] Ke, C., Gupta, R., Xavier, D., Prabhakaran, D., Mathur, P., Kalkonde, Y. V., ... & Basavarajappa, D. (2018). Divergent trends in ischaemic heart disease and stroke mortality in India from 2000 to 2015: a nationally representative mortality study.The Lancet Global Health,6(8), e914-e923.
  2. [2] Meischke, H., Eisenberg, M., Schaeffer, S., & Henwood, D. K. (2000). TheHeart Attack Survival Kit'project: an intervention designed to increase seniors' intentions to respond appropriately to symptoms of acute myocardial infarction.Health education research,15(3), 317-326.
  3. [3] Heller, R. F., Steele, P. L., Fisher, J. D., Alexander, H. M., & Dobson, A. J. (1995). Success of cardiopulmonary resuscitation after heart attack in hospital and outside hospital.BMJ (Clinical research ed.),311(7016), 1332–1336.
  4. [4] Josephson, M., & Wellens, H. J. (2004). Implantable defibrillators and sudden cardiac death.Circulation,109(22), 2685-2691.
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