Would you know what to do if one of your employees had a heart attack? In an ageing population where people work well into their sixties and even seventies, heart attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace, so it’s important that you and your colleagues know what to do, just in case you are first on the scene.
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack happens when the blood supply to the heart is compromised. This is often caused when a blood clot becomes lodged in one of the blood vessels that feed the heart, causing a blockage.
If someone having a heart attack is not treated immediately, there is a high risk that the heart could stop beating and the person could die.
Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms
If someone is having a heart attack, they will display the following symptoms:
• continuous and lasting chest pain that could spread to the arms, neck and jaw
• very pale, clammy skin
• a weak and very rapid pulse
A good aide memoire for these symptoms is ‘the four Ps’ – Pain, Pale, Pulse, and Perspiration.
What To Do
If you think that someone is having a heart attack, it’s essential that you act quickly. Don’t panic. Talk to the person calmly, reassure them that you know what to do, and tell them that medical help is on its way.
1. Call the emergency services immediately, and tell them that you think someone is having a heart attack.
2. Move the casualty to the most comfortable position. Ask them to sit on the floor, leaning up against a wall. Their knees should be bent and their head and shoulders should be well-supported. This position will ease any pressure on the casualty’s heart, and will reduce the risk of injury should they collapse.
3. If you have any aspirin, give the casualty a tablet and ask them to chew it slowly. Aspirin helps to thin the blood, therefore helping to improve flow through the heart.
4. While you are waiting for the ambulance service to arrive, keep checking the casualty’s pulse and talk to them reassuringly.