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Cough To Save Yourself From A Heart Attack?

Never thought of this – we give CPR to someone suffering from a heart attack, but what about saving yourself when you know you are experiencing one yourself?

I found the following on the internet.

The links (and extracts) are below:

_________________________________

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blcpr.htm

Can ‘Cough CPR’ Save Your Life During a Heart Attack?
Netlore Archive: Self-CPR? According to this 1999 email rumor, you can save your own life during a heart attack … by coughing
Description: Email rumor
Circulating since: 1999
Status: Disputed by experts
Analysis: See below

Email text as circulated in 1999:

This one is serious…

Let’s say it’s 4:17 p.m. and you’re driving home, (alone of course) after an unusually hard day on the job. Not only was the work load extraordinarily heavy, you also had a disagreement with your boss, and no matter how hard you tried he just wouldn’t see your side of the situation. You’re really upset and the more you think about it the more up tight you become.

All of a sudden you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest you home, unfortunately you don’t know if you’ll be able to make it that far.

What can you do? You’ve been trained in CPR but the guy that taught the course neglected to tell you how to perform it on yourself.

HOW TO SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN ALONE

Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, this article seemed in order.) Without help the person whose heart stops beating properly and who begins to feel Faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating.

The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a phone and, between breaths, call for help.

Tell as many other people as possible about this, it could save their lives!

from Health Cares, Rochester General Hospital via Chapter 240’s newsletter AND THE BEAT GOES ON… (reprint from The Mended Hearts, Inc. publication, Heart Response)

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4535

Cough CPR

The American Heart Association does not endorse “cough CPR,” a coughing procedure widely publicized on the Internet. As noted in the 2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, the American Heart Association DOES NOT TEACH THIS AS PART OF THE CORE CURRICULUM IN ANY COURSE.

During a sudden arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), it may be possible for a conscious, responsive person to cough forcefully and maintain enough blood flow to the brain to remain conscious for a few secondsuntil the arrhythmia disappears or is treated. Blood flow is maintained by increased pressure in the chest that occurs during forceful coughs. This has been mislabeled “cough CPR,” although it’s not a form of traditional resuscitation.

Why isn’t “cough CPR” appropriate in CPR training courses?

“Cough CPR” should not be routinely taught in lay-rescuer CPR courses, because it would complicate teaching traditional CPR. It would add information that’s not generally useful in the prehospital setting. In virtually all lay-rescuer CPR courses, the finding that signals an emergency is the victim’s unresponsiveness. This signals the rescuer to begin the “A, B, C’s” of CPR. Unresponsive victims will not be able to perform “cough CPR.”

Are there situations when “cough CPR” is appropriate?

This coughing technique to maintain blood flow during brief arrhythmias has been useful in the hospital, particularly during cardiac catheterization. In such cases the patient’s ECG is monitored continuously, and a physician is present.

During cardiac catheterization, patients may develop sudden arrhythmias. If a life-threatening arrhythmia is detected within the first 10 to 15 seconds and before the patient loses consciousness, a physician or nurse may tell the patient to cough. Repeated, forceful coughing can help the person stay conscious until the arrhythmia disappears or is treated.

Therefore, the usefulness of “cough CPR” is generally limited to monitored patients with a witnessed arrest in the hospital setting.

AHA Recommendation

The best strategy is to be aware of the early warning signs for heart attack and cardiac arrest and respond to them by calling 9-1-1. If you’re driving alone and you start having severe chest pain or discomfort that starts to spread into your arm and up into your jaw (the scenario presented in the Internet article), pull over and flag down another motorist for help or phone 9-1-1 on a cellular telephone.

____________________

CONCLUSION : I think CPR is good to learn, and coughing seems to make sense if I am having a heart attack, but would I know it’s a heart attack, and what would be my frame of mind then?  Will have to think about this.

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August 20, 2009 - Posted by | DIY Health

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