Emergency advice

Heart attack:

  1. Call 999.
  2. Sit them down with head and shoulders supported, knees bent.
  3. Give 300mg of aspirin to chew. Do not give aspirin to the casualty if they are under 16 or if they are allergic to it.
  4. Monitor level of response.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack happens when the supply of blood to part of the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. You can make a full recovery following a heart attack, but this may depend on how much of the heart is affected.

Signs and symptoms

Someone having a heart attack may:

  • have crushing pain in the centre of their chest, that may spread to their jaw, and down one or both arms.
  • be breathless or gasping for breath.
  • be sweating profusely.
  • experience pain similar to indigestion.
  • collapse without warning.
  • complain of dizziness.
  • have pale skin and their lips may have a blue tinge .
  • have a rapid, weak or irregular pulse.
  • have a feeling of impending doom.

 

What to do

  1. First aid - call 999 or 112 for emergency help

    Call 999 or 112 for emergency help straight away and tell them you think someone is having a heart attack.

  2. Heart attack first aid - help the casualty into a comfortable position

    Help move the casualty into a comfortable position. The best position is on the floor, with their knees bent and their head and shoulders supported.

    • You could place cushions behind them or under their knees.
  3. Heart attack first aid - give them one aspirin tablet

    Give them one aspirin tablet (300mg) and ask them to chew it slowly.

    • Do not give aspirin to the casualty if they are under 16 or if they are allergic to it.
  4. Heart attack first aid - ask the casualty to take their own angina medication

    Ask the casualty to take their own angina medication, if they have some.

  5. Heart attack first aid - help the casualty into a comfortable position

    Keep monitoring the casualty’s level of response until emergency help arrives.

    • If they become unresponsive at any point, prepare to start CPR.
Did you find this information helpful?

Related first aid advice

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How to do CPR on an adult

If an adult is unresponsive and not breathing normally, you need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and start CPR straight away. Learn what to do.

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Use the primary survey to quickly assess the situation and check the casualty for injuries or conditions that could be immediately life threatening. Find out what to do.

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