Heart Attack

Signals of a Heart Attack
  • Persistent chest pain or discomfort: Victim may have persistent pressure, squeezing, or crushing type pain in the chest that is not relieved by resting, changing positions, or medication.
  • Pain may spread to jaw, neck, or arms
  • Difficulty breathing: Victim may feel short of breath or is breathing faster than normal.
  • Abnormal skin appearance: Victim's skin may be pale, ashen (gray), or bluish in color. Victim's skin may also feel cool and moist.
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
Note: Not all of these signals occur in every heart attack. If you are with someone having these "signals", expect denial. Insist on calling 911.

Care for a Heart Attack
Recognize the signals of a heart attack, which are shown below:
  • Remain calm (you'll do great!).
  • Have the victim stop activity and rest comfortably (place them in a position of comfort).
  • Quickly confirm information about the victim's current condition (awake, breathing, symptoms).
  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Answer all of the 911 Dispatcher's questions as accurately as possible.
  • Closely follow any instructions given by the 911 Dispatcher.
  • Do not hang up until the 911 Dispatcher says to.
  • Stay with and reassure the victim.
  • Assist with medication, if prescribed for the victim.
  • Monitor the victim's condition closely.
  • Be prepared to give CPR, if necessary.
  • Please know, that no matter what the outcome, you did the best you could.
Five Steps of CPR
Make sure you and the scene are safe by doing the following:
  • Assess: Shout and tap or gently shake. If victim is unresponsive, call 911.
  • Position: Place victim on their back, remove pillows from behind the head, open the airway using head-tilt/chin-lift method.
  • Check for Breathing: Look, Listen, and Feel for 5 seconds. If victim is not breathing, give 2 slow breaths.
  • Check for Signs of Circulation: Look for movement, breathing or improvement in skin color for 5 to 10 seconds. If victim has no signs of circulation, begin chest compressions. Chest compressions are more effective if the victim is on a solid surface like the floor, not on a bed or sofa.
  • Recheck for Signs of Circulation: After 1 minute, if there are still no signs of circulation, continue cycles uninterrupted until medical help arrives.
Note: If for whatever reason you are uncomfortable with mouth-to-mouth breathing, at the very least do chest compressions until help arrives.

  • Hand Position: 2 hands on lower half of sternum
  • Compress: 1-1/2 to 2 inches
  • Breathe: Slowly until chest gently rises
  • Cycle: 15 compressions and 2 breaths
  • Rate: 15 compressions in about 10 seconds
  • Hand Position: 1 hand on lower half of sternum
  • Compress: 1 to 1-1/2 inches
  • Breathe: Slowly until chest gently rises
  • Cycle: 5 compressions and 1 breath
  • Rate: 5 compressions in about 3 seconds
  • Hand Position: 2 fingers on lower half of sternum (1 finger width below nipple line)
  • Compress: 1/2 to 1 inch
  • Breathe: Slowly until chest gently rises
  • Cycle: 5 compressions and 1 breath
  • Rate: 5 compressions in about 3 seconds
How to Reduce Your Risk of a Heart Attack
There are several ways to reduce the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Following this advice could save your life (or the life of someone you love):
  • Don't smoke cigarettes and avoid Inhaling the smoke of others. Cigarette smoking is the most important single cause of preventable death in the United States.
  • Exercise regularly. Participate in continuous, vigorous physical activity for at least 20 to 30 minutes (or more) at least 3 times a week
  • Maintain proper weight and eat nutritious food in moderate amounts. Eat a well-balanced diet that's low in cholesterol and saturated fats, and moderate in sodium (salt). Fatty foods contribute to atherosclerosis which is a major contributor to heart attacks. Eating too much sodium can also cause high blood pressure in some people.
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly and have regular medical check-ups. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the heart and other organs.