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First Aid for Chest Pain

Chest pain can be a symptom of a minor health condition like overfatigue due to stress or indigestion, or a sign of an impending serious health dilemma, such as pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, more commonly known as heart attack.

chest pain man 300x117 First Aid for Chest Pain


The first aid treatment of chest pain begins with identifying its characteristics. Ask him to describe the pain and observe his actions, too (e.g. pounding his chest with a closed fist). If the person does not have a relevant idea why he is experiencing chest pain, such as if he had eaten specific foods, then you must bring him to the nearest hospital emergency unit at once. Also, if he experiences chest pain continuously for a few minutes already, seek medical attention.

First Aid Action

1. Let the person sit down, rest, and tell him to stay calm.
2. Loose any tight clothing, particularly on the neck and chest area.
3. Ask if he has any chest pain medication prescribed by his doctor. If there is, get it and help him take it with a glass of water at once. Nitroglycerin is the most common medication that is prescribed in patients that experience frequent chest pain.
4. The pain should go away within 3 minutes. If the pain does not go away or he becomes unconscious and unresponsive, then call 911 or your local emergency unit. Heart attack is suspected.
5. While waiting for the emergency unit to arrive, begin CPR.

Heart Attack

Description: Often diagnosed as myocardial infarction, heart attack is a serious emergency condition that happens when an artery in the heart (usually that artery supplies oxygen to heart muscles, i.e. coronary artery) becomes blocked, resulting to severe chest pain of sudden onset. The chest pain may be experienced for 15 minutes or even longer, depending on what you teach.


The most important warning sign of an impending heart attack is continuous chest pain that lasts for at least 15 minutes a day. This chest pain may begin when the person is physically active and may be relieved when he rests. Other warning signs of chest pain heart attack include:

  • Chest pain described as squeezing or crushing, may radiate or spread to shoulders, neck, and/or arms
  • Uncomfortable feeling of fullness or pressure in the center of the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness or fatigue, particularly in the elderly
  • Changes in mental status

First Aid Action

1. Call 911 or your local emergency unit phone number and report immediately.
2. Bring him to the nearest hospital emergency room.
3. Let him chew 1 tablet of regular Aspirin to reduce blood clotting. Do not give it if he has bleeding problems or allergy to aspirin.
4. Give nitroglycerin if and as prescribed by his doctor. Nitroglycerin is a strong vasodilator; it opens up blood vessels so that blood can flow more effectively in and out of the heart, and most especially, throughout the heart muscles.
5. If the person becomes unconscious, check for pulse and breathing. If there is no breathing, begin CPR. If you are not trained to do CPR, the 911 dispatcher can instruct you how to do it. Stay  calm and follow the dispatcher’s instructions

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