Heart matters

Heart matters: Daughter saves father's life by performing CPR during sudden cardiac arrest

Jill and David

Jill Warren decided to pop in to see her parents at Church on her way home - something she only usually does at Christmas. When she arrived, she found her dad lying across the organ peddles, with one of the congregation administering CPR.

'I went over immediately and said we must lie him flat on the floor and open his airway properly'. Said Jill. And as she was a trained workplace first aider and had regular first aid training with St John Ambulance as part of her role, she took over the CPR.

When the paramedics arrived they used a defibrillator to deliver three shocks to dad, David's heart to establish a rhythm and he regained consciousness. David was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator and came home around two weeks later.

David said: “It’s a miracle really. Jill only comes to our church at Christmas time, but something made her come that day and she saved my life. She’s marvellous.”

 

How you can help if an emergency were to happen

Angina

Angina is chest pain that someone gets when the arteries carrying blood to the heart muscle have become narrow. This then restricts blood supply to the heart muscle during exercise or excitement, and may cause angina.

What to do if you suspect someone is having an angina attack

  • 1. Help them to stop and rest. 
  • 2. If they have angina medication, help them to take it. 
  • 3. If the pain hasn’t gone in 5 minutes, they can take a second dose. 
  • 4. If they’re still in pain after 15 minutes, the pain comes back or they don’t have medication call 999 or 112 straight away. 

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Cardiac arrest

A cardiac arrest happens when someone’s heart stops pumping blood around the body. If this happens, they become unresponsive almost immediately and show no signs of life, such as normal breathing or movement.

What to do if you suspect someone is having a cardiac arrest

  • 1. Call 999 or get someone else to while you start CPR. 
  • 2. Give chest compressions. After 30, give 2 rescue breaths, if able. If not able continue with compressions only. 
  • 3. If there is a defibrillator available – attach it straight away and do as it tells you to. 
  • 4. Otherwise continue with chest compressions and rescue breaths until emergency help arrives.

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Heart attack

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

What to do if you suspect someone is having a heart attack

  • 1. Call 999/112.  
  • 2. Help the person into a comfortable position, supported with knees bent.  
  • 3. Give them 300mg of aspirin.  
  • 4. Check their breathing, pulse and if they respond to you.
  • 5. Reassure them and keep them calm. If they become unresponsive, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone who is unresponsive.  

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Shock

Shock (not to be confused with emotional shock) is a life-threatening condition, which happens when the body isn’t getting enough flow of blood. This means that the cells of the body don’t get enough oxygen to enable them to work properly, which can lead to damage of the vital organs like the brain and the heart.

What to do if you suspect someone is in shock

  • 1. Lay them down with their legs raised and supported.
  • 2. Call 999.
  • 3. Loosen any tight clothing.
  • 4. Keep them comfortable, warm and calm.
  • 5. Keep checking their breathing and whether they can respond.
  • 6. If they become unresponsive, open their airway, check their breathing, and prepare to treat someone who has become unresponsive.