Emergency: Heart Attack - First Aid

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Emergency: Heart Attack - First Aid
Emergency: Heart Attack - First Aid

Video: Emergency: Heart Attack - First Aid

Video: Emergency: Heart Attack - First Aid
Video: First Aid in Heart Attack 2023, December

Emergency: heart attack

Heart attacks are one of the most common emergencies in adulthood. This leads to a sudden closure of a blood vessel in the heart, which means that part of the heart muscle is no longer adequately supplied with oxygen and nutrients. Depending on the vessel affected and the extent of the occlusion, different parts of the heart are affected.

In any case, a heart attack is a life-threatening event and requires immediate action. About 30 percent of heart attacks are fatal. In the event of a heart attack, efficient first aid can not only be vital, it can also protect against serious consequential damage.


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  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
  • How can I provide first aid?
  • Interesting facts about heart attacks

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

There are a few symptoms that typically indicate or precede a heart attack. Sometimes these symptoms can also be absent ("silent heart attack")! Possible signs include:

  • constricting sensation in the chest ("constriction"),
  • burning chest pain,
  • referred pain, especially in the left arm, upper abdomen, between the shoulder blades, in the back or neck and jaw,
  • non-specific symptoms like anxiety, nausea, sweating, cold sweats as well
  • Shortness of breath.

In women in particular, these typical signs are often absent; A heart attack can also be heralded by symptoms such as extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness, upper abdominal pain or nausea and vomiting.

More on the topic: Heart Attack & Angina Pectoris

How can I provide first aid?

In the case of a heart attack, every second counts and first aid measures must be started immediately. As soon as you suspect that the person concerned is having a heart attack, call the emergency number 144 immediately as a first aider.

The person concerned is conscious:

The focus is on reducing stress. All measures that support this, e.g. calming conversations, help in this emergency situation. Proceed as follows:

  • Calm down the victim.
  • Elevate the upper body, e.g. lean against a wall.
  • Have the person breathe in slowly and deeply.
  • Open the windows and get some fresh air.
  • Cover up the affected person, continue to care for them and calm them down until the emergency services arrive.

A heart attack is a life-threatening sudden illness. The condition can worsen massively at any point in time due to the occurrence of arrhythmias. Therefore, if possible, do not leave the person affected alone.

The affected person is unconscious or loses consciousness:

  • Check awareness: speak and shake gently.
  • Call out loud for help: Make bystanders aware of the emergency situation!
  • Check breathing: overstretch head, “hear, see, feel” for max. ten seconds

    • Breathing is normal: place the person on their side in a stable position. Check your breathing again and again until the emergency services arrive!
    • Breathing abnormally: start resuscitation immediately; 30x chest compressions, 2x ventilation.
  • Use defibrillator: If a defibrillator is available (e.g. at airports or train stations), switch it on and follow the instructions.

More on the subject: first aid measures

In addition to first aid, the functioning of the rescue chain is an essential factor for the prognosis. The care and necessary life-saving measures must not be interrupted and must be continued at the emergency site and during the transport until the person concerned arrives at the hospital.

More on the topic: Heart attack: Therapy

Interesting facts about heart attacks

Heart attack (myocardial infarction) is a life-threatening event caused by a sudden closure of a coronary artery (e.g. blood clot). If it is not possible to reopen the vessel within a few hours, the muscle tissue that has been cut off from the blood supply dies. This tissue is called the infarct area. The larger the closed vessel, the larger the infarction and the more severe the symptoms can be.

A common complication of heart attacks is ventricular fibrillation. If first aid is not provided in this phase, the person dies. In this case, one speaks of sudden cardiac death. Ventricular fibrillation is always a life-threatening condition in which the two heart chambers only work in a disorderly manner and the heart's pumping function fails. The result is respiratory and circulatory arrest. Without oxygen, the brain is so badly damaged after three minutes that irreversible neurological damage is the result. The only chance of survival is to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation immediately and use defibrillation.

What is a defibrillator?

An automatic external defibrillator (AED) is a device that can deliver electrical surges. Today these devices are designed in such a way that laypeople can use them immediately. AEDs can be found in public places, train stations, airports, schools or companies. The device is self-explanatory and only needs to be switched on. Ideally, two people should provide first aid. One person performs the CPR and the other operates the AED in parallel.

The user is instructed by voice instructions:

  • Turn on,
  • Take the electrodes out of the packaging,
  • Stick the electrodes firmly on the recorded areas,
  • interrupt resuscitation when requested by the device,
  • trigger a shock at the push of a button when prompted.

Ideally, the targeted current impulse means that the heart muscle cells work normally again and the person begins to breathe again. If there is no breathing, resuscitation continues. Successful use of an AED depends on proper cardiopulmonary resuscitation. An AED is only an addition, not a replacement. It should always be used as soon as possible. With every minute of ventricular fibrillation, the chance of survival drops by ten percent.