First aid treatment for heart attack

The critical knowledge every care provider needs: First aid treatment for heart attacks

Every second counts in a medical emergency, especially a heart attack. Understanding how to administer first aid in such a situation can mean the difference between life and death. In this blog, Rose delves into the vital aspects of first aid treatment for heart attacks, equipping you with the knowledge and confidence to act swiftly and effectively when it matters most.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the British Heart Foundation, there are around 188,000 hospital visits each year in the UK due to heart attacks.
  • Approximately 1 in 4 heart attack victims die before reaching the hospital.
  • Quick response and proper first aid can significantly increase a person's chances of survival and reduce the risk of long-term damage to the heart muscle.

Key definitions

  • Heart attack - A sudden interruption in blood flow to a part of the heart muscle, typically caused by a blockage in one or more coronary arteries.
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) - A life-saving technique involving chest compressions and rescue breaths to maintain blood circulation and oxygenation in the event of cardiac arrest.

Legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 in the UK require employers to provide adequate first aid facilities, equipment, and personnel in the workplace.
  • The Resuscitation Council (UK) sets guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care, ensuring consistency and effectiveness in first aid practices.
  • Best practice involves promptly calling emergency services (999 or 112) in the event of a suspected heart attack and following dispatcher instructions while awaiting medical help.

Recognising the signs of a heart attack

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain radiating to the arms, neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, vomiting, or lightheadedness
  • Cold sweat or clammy skin.

Administering first aid

  • Assess the situation - Check for responsiveness and breathing.
  • Call for help - Dial emergency services immediately.
  • Comfortable position - Help the person sit or lie down comfortably.
  • Administer aspirin - If available and not contraindicated, give the person aspirin to chew (usually 300mg) to help reduce blood clotting.
  • Monitor vital signs - Stay with the person and monitor their condition while awaiting medical assistance.


  • Encourage individuals to undergo first aid training to gain confidence and competence in responding to medical emergencies.
  • Regularly review and update workplace first aid protocols and equipment to ensure emergency readiness.
  • Promote awareness of heart attack symptoms and the importance of prompt action in the community.


Being prepared to respond effectively to a heart attack can save lives. By understanding the signs, knowing how to administer first aid, and staying informed about best practices, you can play a crucial role in supporting those in need during a medical emergency. Take the initiative to learn more about first aid and empower yourself to make a difference.

Click here to enrol in our comprehensive first aid training courses and qualifications today. Enhance your first aid skills and take the first step towards becoming a confident first responder.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

The critical knowledge every care provider needs - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK

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