First Aid for Cardiovascular Emergencies

By November 16, 2015CPR Month

treatment_blogSerious conditions that are a result of cardiovascular emergencies arise from cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure or atherosclerosis. These diseases kill more Canadians than any other cause of death. With proper first aid and CPR training the odds of survival for casualties of these cardiovascular emergencies can be improved.

First Aid for Angina / Heart Attack
First Aid for angina and heart attack is the same. Only a physician can determine the difference, not a First Aider.

1) Begin ESM – do the scene survey
2) Do a primary survey. Ask the casualty questions to determine the history such as
“Can you show me where it hurts?”
“Have you had this pain before?”
“Do you have medication for this pain?”
3) As soon as you recognize the signs and symptoms of an angina/heart attack, call, or have a bystander call, for medical help. If you have to leave to call, place the casualty at rest before you go.
The most comfortable position for the casualty is best. In most cases, the semi-sitting position will be best but this is not always the case. Let the casualty try what has helped before, but don’t delay calling medical help while trying different positions to ease the pain.
4) Make the casualty comfortable – loosen tight clothing at the neck, chest and waist. Reassure the casualty to lessen fear and worry – these cause a heart to work harder.
5) Help the conscious casualty to take his prescribed medication. Follow the guidelines below. If the casualty has no prescribe medication or there is no relief after the first dose of the prescribed medication, ask the casualty if he has any allergies to ASA or if a doctor has ever told him not to take ASA. If not, suggest he chew 1 regular ASA tablet or 2 low dose ASA tablets.
6) If the casualty loses consciousness and stops breathing, start CPR with compressions.
(From St John Ambulance First Aid Reference Guide copyright 2011)

First Aid for Heart Failure

1. Begin ESM
2. Do a preliminary survey. Send or go for medical help and an AED if available
3. Place the casualty at rest in a semi-sitting position and loosen tight clothing
4. Reassure the casualty and monitor breathing closely. Be prepared to begin CPR if breathing stops
(From St John Ambulance First Aid Reference Guide copyright 2011)

First Aid for Stroke/TIA
1. Begin ESM – do the scene survey. If the casualty is unresponsive, send or go for medical help and an AED if available.
2. Do a primary survey.
3. Place the casualty at rest in the most comfortable position – usually semi sitting
4. Give nothing by mouth. If the casualty is thirsty, moisten the lips with a wet cloth.
5. Protect the casualty from injury when he is lifted, moved or during convulsions.
6. Reassure the casualty and keep them warm.
7. If the casualty begins to lose consciousness or is unconscious, place him in the recovery position. If there is paralysis, position the casualty with the paralyzed side up. This will reduce the chance of tissue or nerve damage to the affected side.
8. Be prepared to begin CPR is breathing stops
(From St John Ambulance First Aid Reference Guide copyright 2011)

These first aid steps should be used in conjunction with proper CPR when necessary. Taking a first aid and CPR course is the best way to learn the proper practical skills and can help save lives.

Leave a Reply