Healthy living * First aid

Man has heart attack during heart disease lecture

Man has heart attack during lecture on heart disease Experts on hand saved his life

When people turned up to hear Dr William Philip's lecture on heart disease, the last thing they expected was a practical demonstration.

The cardiologist was giving a lecture to more than 100 people at the Central Maine Medical Center when he was interrupted by an audience member complaining of chest pain.

"We were talking about angina and this man raised his hand and said, 'I'm having it right now,'" Dr Phillips told the Sun Journal.

"I said, 'Are you kidding? And he said, 'No.'"

Fortunately, three cardiac nurses were also present. Just as they were about to get a wheelchair to take the victim to the emergency room at the hospital, the man collapsed.

"He had completely arrested," said Dr Phillips. "He had no pulse. He wasn't breathing."

The doctor and nurses sprang into action and started CPR on the patient. One of the nurses ran to get an automated external defibrillator to restart his heart.

"The AED saved his life," Dr Phillips said.

Meanwhile, the audience - many with heart problems - looked on.

"I can't tell you how I was hoping that guy was going to open his eyes, because, I thought, nothing could be worse if he dies right here," Dr Philips told the newspaper.

Paramedics arrived and the man was taken to the hospital's emergency room.

After checking that the man was recovering from his ordeal, Dr Phillips returned to continue with his lecture.

Heart attack first aid

If you think someone is having a heart attack, you must act quickly.

  • Call 999 or 112 for an ambulance
  • Sit the person down in a comfortable position
  • If they are conscious, give them a 300mg aspirin tablet to chew slowly
  • Don't leave them alone. Be prepared to administer CPR if they become unconscious and have trouble or stop breathing (cardiac arrest).

Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

CPR consists of a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths.

The aim of CPR is to maintain a flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and the heart when someone has stopped breathing, or is not breathing normally.

Chest compressions

  • Place the heel of one hand on the centre of the chest and place the other hand on top
  • Keeping your arms straight, push down on the chest with the heel of your hand. You should push down by 4 - 5cm
  • Keep your hands in place, release the pressure, and allow the chest to rise
  • Do this 30 times, then administer two rescue breaths

Rescue breaths

  • Make sure the airway is open and clear. Place a hand on their forehead and gently tilt the head back, and lift
  • Pinch the person's nose
  • Place your mouth over theirs
  • Blow into the person's mouth; you should see the chest rise
  • Repeat once more. As you take another breath you should see the person's chest fall

Continue with CPR until the emergency services arrive, or someone else can take over from you.

When carrying out CPR, you should try to perform 100 chest compressions per minute. If you can't bring yourself to administer rescue breaths, then give chest compressions only.

This article was published on Thu 30 June 2011



Image © Cecilia Lim - Fotolia.com


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