THE IMPENDING HEART ATTACK AND THE ACUTE STAGE: IMMEDIATE MEASURES FOR RESUSCITATION
The worst that can happen, either at home or on the road, is a cardiac arrest which is caused by the abnormal heart rhythm in the early phase. As a consequence, the heart can no longer pump blood to the vital organs of the body, resulting in a severe lack of oxygen. The brain is the most exposed to this danger because irreversible damage can be prevented only in the first three minutes. In such a case, artificial respiration and heart massage may save the patient's life.
All other complications, such as cardiac insufficiency, which may arise after a heart attack and which may cause death, usually cannot be recognized or alleviated by the layman. However, these complications usually arise at a later time when medical assistance is already available.
It is not difficult to recognize cardiac arrest because the patients' condition changes rapidly. They become unconscious and their face or hands turn a blue-gray color. They may gasp for air
or make a snoring sound, or their pulse and breathing may not be perceptible at all. This situation poses a clear danger to life, but if you take immediate and appropriate measures, you may still save it. By means of artificial respiration and strong, effective heart massage, it is possible to revive breathing and the circulation to supply the heart, brain and kidneys with oxygen until the physician arrives on the scene or the patient arrives at the hospital.
Heart massage and artificial respiration (mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-nose)
Place the patient immediately flat on his back on a hard floor.
With your closed fist or the edge of your hand hit the breastbone. Rapidly check to see whether the heart is beating again by placing your ear on his chest or your finger on the main artery at the lateral aspect of the neck.
3. If the heart has not resumed beating, place one closed fist on the lower third of the breastbone, but not on the stomach, and the other closed fist on the upper third of the breastbone. Using your body weight and keeping your elbows straight, apply pressure to the breastbone in line with the spine at a consistent rate of 60 to 80 times per minute. Be sure to measure the rate of this massage with a clock or watch that has a second hand.
After each fifth time of pushing on the breastbone, it is important to give artificial respiration, since heart massage without artificial respiration is of no value. Placing one hand on the forehead, the second one under the chin, push the lower jaw forward and against the upper jaw. Keep the mouth closed by pressing your thumb on it.
Place the patient's hands above and to the back of the head. Breathe deeply and place your mouth over the patient's nose. Blow air in for three seconds and then allow the patient to exhale for two seconds. The chest and the upper abdomen should expand when you blow air in. If you prefer to use the mouth-to-mouth method, pinch the patient's nose shut. Then repeat the heart massage as described in the third paragraph. In this five-to-one ratio of five massaging motions to one artificial breath for the patient, continue the process without pause.
Those who have practiced this method (as in a first-aid course) will be able to apply it in the case of an emergency. However, you must act immediately and should not waste time in long telephone conversations or in any other way. You should keep in mind that you have only three minutes to restore life-sustaining circulation.
Since heart massage and artificial respiration can be very tiring, it may be better for two persons to cooperate. However, someone who seriously attempts to overcome the crucial period until the physician arrives or the patient reaches the hospital, often forgets his own fatigue. In such situations in which there is nothing to lose and everything to gain, the normal reaction is to continue tirelessly.
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