Chest Discomfort or Pain

Heart attack: Are you ready to deal with one?

Fact Checked

A heart attack occurs once the blood supply to the heart is abruptly blocked usually by a blood clot. Many individuals can achieve full recovery from a heart attack but there is a serious risk that the heart might cease to beat which is called a cardiac arrest.

If an individual is suspected with a heart attack, he/she must be treated right away or it can be fatal. Individuals with have angina are likely to end up with a heart attack. Angina is described as a tight chest pain that eases if the individual rests and appropriate medications are used and lasts for a few minutes. If the pain lasts longer, consider it as a heart attack.

What should I watch out for?

If an individual is having a heart attack, watch out for the following:

  • Continuous chest pain that can spread to the jaw, neck or arms.
  • Rapid and weak pulse
    Heart attack
    Continuous chest pain that can spread to the jaw, neck or arms.
  • Pale skin
  • Sweating


  • Call for emergency assistance right away if an individual is suspected with a heart attack.
  • Assist the individual to a comfortable position. The ideal position is on the floor leaning against the wall with the knees bent and the head and shoulders properly supported. This can ease the pressure on the heart and prevent injuries in case of collapse.
  • Provide the individual with 300 mg aspirin if available and if not allergic. Instruct to chew on it slowly.
  • Monitor the individual since he/she might develop shock.
  • Continue to monitor the breathing, pulse and level or responsiveness.
  • If the individual loses responsiveness at any point, open the airway, check the breathing and carry out the appropriate measures. In some cases, you might be required to perform CPR.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on a heart attack is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn more about circulatory emergencies such as a heart attack, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Mississauga, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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