Chest pain is one of a few medical complaints that always require emergency medical care.
The specific cause of chest pain may be difficult to interpret initially and can vary from minor problems such as heartburn and rheumatism of the intercostals muscles to serious medical emergencies. As chest pain is often an indicator of a heart attack, the condition needs immediate attention.
The foremost part in first aid for chest pain is to recognize the signs of chest pain. The chest pain of a heart attack characteristically occurs in the center of the chest radiating to the neck, left shoulder and left arm. The pain is described as squeezing, pressurizing or stabbing in nature and is often associated with nausea, sweating, palpitation and shortness of breath or fainting.
The action taken during the first few minutes of an emergency is critical in the survival of an individual with chest pain of cardiac origin.1 In the absence of immediate medical help, the following steps should be practiced:
If the person is unresponsive, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).1 The procedure involves the following steps:
The latest guidelines published by the American Heart Association had recommended compression: ventilation ratio of 30:2 instead of 15:2. This was based on observations that rescue breaths caused unacceptably long interruptions during chest compressions. When chest compressions are interrupted by rescue breathing, blood flow to the heart and the 24-hsurvival had been shown to decrease and the probability of return of spontaneous circulation is reduced from high to low, when CPR is interrupted for 20 sec.2
1.Sreevastava DK, Roy PK, Dass SK, Chakrabarty A, Tarneja VK. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: An overview of recent advances in concepts and practices. MJAFI. 2004; 60(1): 52–58.
2.Ali B, Zafari AM. Narrative review: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care: review of the current guidelines. Ann Intern Med. 2007; 147(3): 171–179.
Written by: healthplus24 team
Date last updated: May 02, 2015
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