ForJodie Project - Family First Aid

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Course Content

Heart Attack

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1 min 26 sec
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Understanding Heart Attacks and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

1. Differentiating Between Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

It's essential to grasp the distinction between these two cardiac events:

  • Heart Attack: A heart attack results from a heart in distress due to blocked blood flow, causing major damage.
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA): SCA occurs when the heart abruptly stops beating altogether.

1.1 The Severity of Heart Attacks

Heart attacks are incredibly serious due to the risk of sudden cardiac arrest:

  • Approximately 200,000 deaths annually are attributed to heart and circulatory diseases.
  • Of these, around 90,000 fatalities result from sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Each year in the UK, there are approximately 125,000 heart attack cases.

1.2 Heart Health and Blockages

Understanding how heart issues develop over time:

  • Plaque buildup in the heart can lead to blood vessel narrowing and blockages.
  • These blockages, along with muscular spasms, can occur without noticeable symptoms until a heart attack strikes.

2. Recognizing Heart Attack Symptoms

Identifying the signs of a heart attack is crucial:

  • Common symptoms include:
  • Chest discomfort and pressure
  • Pain below the breastbone
  • Pain radiating to the left arm, back, jaw, throat, or arms
  • Indigestion-like sensations
  • Sweating, nausea, vomiting
  • Dizziness, extreme weakness
  • Anxiety, shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular pulse
  • Feelings of fear and impending doom

A heart attack may not always lead to cardiac arrest, but it should never be underestimated. Immediate action is imperative.

2.1 Responding to a Heart Attack

What to do when you suspect a heart attack:

  • Call emergency services without delay.
  • Have the person sit on the floor, leaning against a stable surface.
  • Elevate their legs with feet flat and leaning slightly forward to reduce cardiac stress.
  • Stay with the individual, keeping them calm.
  • Consider offering a 300mg aspirin tablet to chew (not swallow) as it can help thin the blood.

When the emergency services arrive, provide them with detailed information about the situation and any assistance you've given.

Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit four LO3.1, 3.2 & 3.3