Call an ambulance immediately if you suspect that you or someone you know is having a heart attack.
Symptoms can include:
Although the chest pain is often severe, some people may only experience minor pain, similar to indigestion. In some cases, there may not be any chest pain at all, especially in women, the elderly and people with diabetes.
It’s the overall pattern of symptoms that helps to determine whether you are having a heart attack.
Do not worry if you have doubts. Assume that you are having a heart attack and call an ambulance immediately.
Paramedics would rather be called out to find an honest mistake has been made than be too late to save a person’s life.
It is important to rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart.
If aspirin is easily available and you know you are not allergic to it, slowly chew and then swallow an adult-sized tablet (300mg) while you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
The aspirin will help to thin your blood and restore blood supply to your heart.
In some cases a complication called ventricular arrhythmia can cause the heart to go into spasm and then to stop beating. This is known as sudden cardiac arrest.
Signs and symptoms suggesting a person has gone into cardiac arrest include:
If you think somebody has gone into cardiac arrest and you do not have access to a piece of equipment called an automated external defibrillator (AED), you should perform chest compressions, as this can help restart the heart.
To carry out a chest compression:
Aim to do the chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions a minute.
If you have access to a device called an AED, you should use it. An AED is a safe, portable electrical device that most large organisations keep as part of their first aid equipment.
It helps to establish a regular heartbeat during a cardiac arrest by monitoring the person’s heartbeat and giving them an electric shock if necessary.
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Source: NHS UK