One of the most worrisome questions tagging on the mind of the people who nurse heart patients is: What should you do if someone has a heart attack? If someone we know has a heart attack, we probably have only a few minutes to act, and act fruitfully. It is vital to think calmly and not make any haste.
First Aid for Heart Attacks
Firstly, let us briefly look into how we can know if someone is having a heart attack. It is firstly important to decipher if the person is breathing or not. This can be done by detecting breathing through the rise and fall of the chest. Secondly, you must check the pulse of the person, by placing two fingers on one or the other side of the person’s voice box to feel their carotid pulse. Also remember that, stoppage of breathing could be due to suffocation or blockage of the windpipe. In case of no breathing or inadequate pulse, it is sure that the person has had a heart attack.
Give Aspirin: The foremost first aid for a heart attack to be provided to the patient is an aspirin. Making him chew on an aspirin may be the solution whilst you wait for an ambulance to arrive.
Artificial Breathing: The next first aid that can be given especially to someone who has collapsed is artificial breathing. First you must tilt the head back and lift up the chin. Take a deep breath and seal you mouth over on the person’s mouth and breathe in slowly, till you think the chest has been inflated. Repeat this procedure. Keep checking if your breathing is a causing the rise of the person’s chest. If it happens it means there is adequate air being blown in. Continue this procedure till you think the person has started to breathe again.
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation): If artificial respiration as a first aid does not bring respite to the person, it is better to check for pulse and start a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
First locate the ‘upside down V’ shaped notch on the person’s chest. This is made by the lower end of the rib cage. Place your index finger next to it and slide it down the breastbone till it touches the index finger. According to your position, the heel of your hand must be in contact on the middle of the lower half of the breastbone.
Next you must keep the heel of your other hand on top of the first. Then place your fingers off the chest and by locking them together apply pressure using your heel and hangs only. Do not apply too much body weight and press firmly and quickly and aim for a downward movement of 4 to 5cm. repeat the compressions.
Continue this at least 15 times till the help arrives, aim for a rate of compression of about 100 per minute. Keep your counting in check.
As far as possible get someone to help you, that means one person who can perform the artificial respiration and the other can perform the CPR. The ratio of chest compressions to breaths is 15:2 for both one-person and two-person CPR. Continue this first aid practice till the ambulance arrives. In case the pulse returns and the breathing begin, change the position of the person onto the side and following to the recovery position. In this manner, mucus or vomit cannot form an obstruction into their mouth whilst breathing. It may also prevent the tongue from falling back into the mouth to obstruct breathing.
It may be noted that CPR as a first aid for heart attack may be provided by only those who are well aware of this technique and have done it before. On gaining consciousness the patient must be kept away from alarming sounds and commotion. He or she must also be kept warm and calmness and quietness in the environment must be maintained.