How To Survive A Heart Attack Alone

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul_D, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    I got sent this by a friend. Sounds like important information.

    HOW TO SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK ALONE

    Let's say it's 6:15 p.m. and you're driving home (alone of course), after an unusually hard day on the job. You're really tired, upset and frustrated. Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home; unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far. What can you do? You've been trained in CPR but the guy that taught the course neglected to tell you how to perform it on yourself. Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, this article seemed to be in order. Without help, the person whose heart stops beating properly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing conscious-ness. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the when producing sputum from deep inside the chest, and a cough must be repeated about every 2 seconds without let up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital.
     
  2. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Who says the HTF isn't a valuable source of life saving information?

    I'll remember that one...Thanks
     
  3. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    Paul, that is really good to know, thank you.
     
  4. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Just last week I was in the bookstore, browsing. I started feeling chest pains and tightness suddenly. I considered alerting an employee, but didn't want to make a scene (I know how stupid that sounds). I ended up leaving the store to drive home (alone). I made a mental note of the nearest hospital, just in case I had to drive there instead. I'd had momentary chest discomfort before, but this seemed different. After about five minutes of driving, I suddenly belched about four times and all was well. Very scary, though.

    Thanks for that info, Paul. It does make sense, but do you have a source where it could be verified?

    Jon
     
  5. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    All,
    I would suggest reading this article before deciding to try this.
    -Brett.
     
  6. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I was an EMT for three years and I was certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support through the American Heart Association (AHA) this year. According to the AHA, " The American Heart Association does not endorse "cough CPR," a coughing procedure widely publicized on the Internet."
    Much more information can be found here:
    http://www.americanheart.org/present...dentifier=4535
    From the AHA site: It is true that coughing can help keep blood flowing for a brief time, but this coughing procedure is not likely to save a lone person away from a hospital. If you have no other options, I would say try coughing, but please call 911 and get to the hospital as soon as possible.
     
  7. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    John: Gas pains, which is obviously what you experienced, can be extremely painful and centered in the chest--thus mimicking the effects of a heart attack. Then comes the inevitable and loud belch, and all is well. I've had to go light on the mayo when making sandwiches, as the gas that results can be debilitatingly painful. At least four or five times I thought I was experiencing the onset of a heart attack. Gas, everytime. JB
     
  9. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Thanks for trying Paul. I still learned something to do when fearing a heart attack.
    Hehe - Jack "Gas, everytime" Briggs [​IMG]
     
  10. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Gotta make a note of that:

    Belch Therapy... Check.
     
  11. Tony G

    Tony G Stunt Coordinator

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    It is important to differentiate malignant arrythmias (treatment: CPR, defibbrillation, anti-fibrillatory drugs) from a myocardial infarction, or heart attack (treatment: decreasing myocardial oxygen consumption, increasing myocardial oxygen supply, "clot-busting" drugs, angioplasty) The LAST thing that a person suffering a heart attack without a life-threatening arrythmia wants to do is start coughing violently, as this would increase the work his heart would be required to do.

    ACLS (I am an instructor) teaches that "cough CPR" is not effective in moving sufficient quantities of oxygenated blood to sustain brain survival, and that "cough defibrillation" simply doesn't have the research behind it to have been demonstrated to be effective. Plus, the vast majority of folks wouldn't know when they needed to be defibrillated anyway, and would pass out from lack of blood flow to the brain.

    Take home: Don't try this at home!

    Tony
     
  12. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  13. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    What scares the hell out of me is the push I have seen by some groups to have public defibs put in place in such areas as Airports, and train platforms.
    I am sorry, but even if I WAS having a heart attack, I don't think I would want some unqualified member of the public, who has watched Chicago Hope (or ER, or even M*A*S*H) thinking he or she could apply defib paddles to me and have me survive the procedure. Don't waste time with that, call 911, the sooner they get an EMT to me, the better!
    Finally, don't you think having high voltage appliances readily available for the public sounds dumb? I can see little Johny thinking what happens when I touch Sister with these? How high can Daddy Jump?
     
  14. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Lance, buddy, gotta disagree with you.
    Public-use defibrillators have been designed to be idiot-proof. They've also saved nearly half of all victims in two recent studies. That is 10 times the usual survival rate of 5% for people who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital.
    They are hardly "high voltage". In fact, shocking a person who is not in ventricular fibrillation generally causes no harm. Also, in the studies, the devices never incorrectly indicated someone should be shocked.
    Every second counts with a heart attack. If it's me - and there's a defib available - shock first, call 911 second.
    Read this article for more information.
    Jon
     
  15. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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    That seemed a little dodgy for me, if only because it suggests that you keep driving while this is happening. A person in the midst of a heart attack seems, to me, to be a significant road hazard, to themselves and others.

    And they say cell phones are distracting.
     
  16. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    There is a bit of training that goes along with the defibs.

    You do have to know how to check for obstruction, tilt the head, check for pulse, and give proper artificial respiration. Take a good CPR course, which will teach you all that and more. Some of them (most of them?) will also teach you on the use of the defibs. We were, we have two at the facility I work at. The defibs themselves are almost idiot proof. I'd want someone to use it on me if need be.

    Mike
     
  17. Chris Souders

    Chris Souders Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    A little clarification on a few points..

    AED's (automated external defibrillators) work by analyzing a person's heart rhythm and determining if that rhythm is amenable to termination via electricity. For those that know such things, namely ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

    Now, such machines are not meant to be turned on and analyzing a person with a pulse (although a new brand coming out is for such a purpose). A person can be in v. tach with a pulse which, if the machine analyzes him, can produce a shock in a awake pulsatile person. But this circumstance is rare. Note that you cannot play with an AED by yourself and get it to shock. It has to recognize one of two specific heart rhythms.

    The machines, as pointed out, are for unqualified lay people to use. In fact, the person who remarked about getting an EMT to them quickly would be no more likely to survive assuming the citizen knew basic CPR and could follow either voice or visual prompts on the AED.

    For Jon,

    Note that your cardiac arrest survival statistics may be that as generalized for the nation as a whole, but what's more important are the statistics for your local region. This can range from oh, say 0% survival to here in Houston, where we have greater than 70% return of spontaneous pulses in v. fib or v.tach. The level of paramedic care and access to that care varies widely, and your success of living through sudden cardiac death is varied depending on where you are (though globally low as you point out unless you are in Houston or Seattle)...

    Also, you point out that it is not high voltage in a defibrillator. I hope you don't go around defibrillating yourself at 200 or 300 or 360 joules as this will lead to your death.

    Lastly, the new basic life support courses have not been teaching how to check for a pulse and don't incorporate that into the basic level of care. Now, instead, you are to look for 'signs of circulation' or some such vague things such as respirations, color, movement, etc. This hasn't been collaborated with AED's mostly as they still want you to check a pulse.

    That's enough.
    Chris
     
  18. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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  19. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    How do these 'public' machines work for someone who has an implanted carido defrib?

    My ex has had one for almost three years. The thing that scares her most is somebody (trained or not) trying to defrib her externally. She wears an ID bracelet, but is an untrained Joe Public going to check for that? I doubt it.
     
  20. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    Ok, so they have built some brains into these units? Maybe I would be willing to change my opinion on them. I have CPR training (was a lifeguard in a past life), but never really though about if the defibs would have sensors or what not in them to detect if the person really needed the use of them.

    As for the comment not high voltage, perhaps my knowledge of these devices in general is out of date? I thought the units applied a high voltage milliamp shock of current. Low Voltage would not have the desired effect, due to skin conductivity, etc.
     

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