Tag Archives: Heart Attack

How To Save A Life: Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

Warning signs:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. (List found at the American Heart Association website.)

I went ahead an included the specific warning signs for women, because they include all the same warning signs as for men, and this list includes those few extra commonly reported symptoms. After calling 9-1-1, the person suffering symptoms of a heart attack should chew and swallow one Aspirin tablet, unless he/she is allergic, or has been instructed by a doctor not to take Aspirin. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen do not work in the same way, and as such should not be administered. Give the person nitroglycerin if, and only if, it has been prescribed to them by a doctor. Have the person lie down, if he/she is having trouble breathing or swallowing put him/her into the recovery position. Try to keep the person calm and alert. If the person loses consciousness (enters cardiac arrest) begin CPR. If the person has no vital signs, CPR should be continued and an automated external defibrillator (AED) should be administered.   Now here is a PSA from Go Red For Women, featuring actress Elizabeth Banks. About the video, Banks said, “While the film is funny, having a heart attack is not something to be laughed at. However, I’m using humor to help uncover the truth about heart disease, to get people interested in learning more about their hearts — and our movement.” I don’t think leaving one’s mom on the floor with an iPhone and an article about heart attacks is the appropriate course of action by any means, but you get the point.

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Week 9: Medical Emergencies

Week 9 was much busier than anticipated, and I left town for the weekend for a friends’ going away festivities, so I fell behind. Have to play catch up now. For this week I wanted to learn about the common warning signs for medical emergencies (stroke, heart attack, alcohol poisoning, etc.) and the appropriate responses one can take other than calling 911 (which should always be done first in any real medical emergency).

Since I am so behind this week (and I am not a medical professional with valid opinions or advice to give), I will primarily be posting the collection of resources that I use to learn more about these emergencies.

Let’s begin with something basic, and on the response side of medical emergencies that everyone should know: the recovery position.

The recovery position.

The recovery position.

The recovery position should follow the six following guidelines (as outlined by the International Liaison Committee of Resuscitation):

  1. The victim should be in as near a true lateral position as possible with the head dependent to allow free drainage of fluid
  2. The position should be stable
  3. Any pressure of the chest that impairs breathing should be avoided
  4. It should be possible to turn the victim onto the side and return to the back easily and safely, having particular regard to the possibility of cervical spine injury
  5. Good observation of and access to the airway should be possible
  6. The position itself should not give rise to any injury to the victim (List and image from Wikipedia: Recovery Position)