Heart Attack Procedure

Conversation between Peter (caregiver) and Mr Law (First Aid course instructor)

Situation: Peter is attending a specific first aid training workshop, dealing with the treatment of heart attack patients. As an active participant Peter asks a number of questions during the session.

Audio: Listen to the audio file here.

Grammar points:

Broader range of intensifiers such as so, such, too and enough

Persons: Peter (caregiver), Mr Law (First Aid course instructor)

Location: The session takes place in a training room.

Mr Law: During this session we will look at how you might tell if someone has a heart attack. We’ll also make sure you have enough information to know what to do in such an emergency. Can anyone tell me what a heart attack is? [Peter raises his hand] Yes Peter?
Peter: Is it when the heart suddenly stops beating?
Mr Law: Not exactly. What you have described Peter is something we call a sudden cardiac arrest. A heart attack is different. A heart attack is when the blood supply to the heart is blocked, normally by a blood clot. Many people will recover from a heart attack. However, there is a chance that the heart attack will cause the heart to stop, which is known as a cardiac arrest. This is why it is so important to arrange for medical assistance if you suspect a heart attack. Medical assistance that is too late could result in the patient’s death.
Peter: How can we tell if someone is having a heart attack?
Mr Law: There are four things that we look for to determine a heart attack. We call these the four ‘P’s. The first is pain in the chest, which can move to the jaw and down one arm. The second is pale skin, which may look a little grey. The third is Perspiration. And the fourth thing to consider is the patient’s pulse, which may be rapid and weak during a heart attack. Early diagnosis is such an important factor in dealing with heart attack patients.
Peter: Can the symptoms be confused with other problems?
Mr Law: There is a condition called angina, which is more common in older people. Angina symptoms include chest pains, including the jaw and arm, and a patient can begin to perspire. If you know your patient has angina ensure they take their medication, which normally stops the pain and perspiration. However, if the pain persists you should suspect a heart attack. You cannot be too careful in these situations. [Peter raises his hand] Peter?
Peter: How do we treat a patient with a suspected heart attack?
Mr Law: The first thing you should do is to phone for an ambulance and say that the patient is having a heart attack. It is so important to give the medical services enough time to respond. Once you have called for an ambulance you should arrange the patient in a sitting position. Ideally this will be on the floor with their back and knees supported. If the patient is over sixteen years old and are able to take Aspirin, give them one 300mg tablet and ask them to chew it slowly.
Peter: What else can we do?
Mr Law: You should continue to monitor your patient as they could develop a condition called shock, which is life threatening. You should keep checking their levels of response, breathing and pulse. If they do go unconscious remember your primary survey protocol. Be prepared to give CPR if necessary. So can anyone remind us what the four ‘P’s are when we suspect a heart attack? [Peter raises his hand] Peter?
Peter: The first P is pain, mainly in the chest. The second P is Pale skin, which may look grey. The third P is perspiration and the fourth P is pulse, which may be weak and too fast.
Mr Law: Excellent Peter, well done. Now I want you to work with a partner and practice positioning a suspected heart attack patient as I’ve described. Find a space in the room where you have enough room and remember to keep the back and legs of the patient supported.
Project number: 543336-LLP-1-2013-1-DE-KA2-KA2MP - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.