Heart attack first aid
A heart attack is a medical emergency. Call 911 or the local emergency number if you think you or someone else is having a heart attack.
The average person waits 3 hours before seeking help for symptoms of a heart attack. Many heart attack patients die before they reach a hospital. The sooner the person gets to the emergency room, the better the chance of survival. Prompt medical treatment reduces the amount of heart damage.
This article discusses what to do if you think someone may be having a heart attack.
First aid - heart attack; First aid - cardiopulmonary arrest; First aid - cardiac arrest
A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that carries oxygen to the heart is blocked. The heart muscle becomes starved for oxygen and begins to die.
Symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. They may be mild or severe. Women, older adults, and people with diabetes are more likely to have subtle or unusual symptoms.
Symptoms in adults may include:
If you think someone is having a heart attack:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately if the person:
Adults should take steps to control heart disease risk factors whenever possible.
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Levin GN, Bates ER, Blankenship JC, et al. 2015 ACC/AHA/SCAI focused update on primary percutaneous coronary intervention for patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction: An update of the 2011 ACCF/AHA/SCAI Guideline for percutaneous coronary intervention and the 2013 ACCF/AHA guideline for the management of ST-elevation myocardial infarction. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016;67(10):1235-1250. PMID: 26498666 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26498666/.
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Review Date: 10/11/2018
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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