A heart attack is the death of, or damage to, part of the heart muscle due to severe reduction or stoppage of blood supply to the heart muscle. Heart attacks are becoming more commonplace these days with even people in their 20s and 30s getting them. So what should you do if you or a person close to you is having a heart attack? Here’s what renowned cardiologist Dr Vijay Surase has to say.
What to do when someone has a heart attack?
Dr Vijay Surase: If a person is having chest pain, even if there’s a chance that he’s not suffering from a heart attack he deserves the benefit of doubt. The first step is to help the patient relax. Loosen their clothes and open the windows. Next pop a tablet of aspirin into their mouth. Don’t give it to them with water. Ask them to chew it instead. If that’s not possible crush the tablet in a little water and give it to them. Another medicine you can use is sorbitrate. Place the tablet under their tongue. You can give up to three sorbitrates in five minutes. They both have anti-coagulant properties; they help dissolve blood clots. However DO NOT GIVE sorbitrate to people who have low blood pressure or/and are sweating profusely.
Also you shouldn’t let them lie down flat. Ask them to either recline on a sofa or sit upright. Another thing you can do is ask them to cough out. This helps ventilate their lungs. A heart attack victim should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible, at least within one hour. During a heart attack, the heart stops pumping blood and this can damage the organs. Like a stroke, a heart attack has a golden period during which recovery is faster.
Quick tips for heart attack patients
- Never neglect a person with chest pain
- Make the person sit in a slightly reclined position
- Move the person to a more ventilated area
- Administer aspirin or sorbitrate
- If person is sweating profusely or pulse is low do not administer sorbitrate
- Ask the person to cough
- Seek immediate medical attention
- A person suffering from a heart attack should receive medical care within one hour.
Also read: Warning signs of a heart attack
First Published: Nov 9, 2012 at 8:10 AM