How Do Paramedics Respond to a Heart Attack?

Paramedics respond to a heart attack by assessing the patient’s vital signs and conducting an electrocardiograph (ECG) to check the patient’s heart rhythm and to determine if symptoms are due to a heart attack. The majority of the time, paramedics also administer medicine or fluids to alleviate symptoms. 

After determining causes and treatments, they’ll then transport the victim to a medical facility for help from a specialist. Sometimes, they may perform other first aid tasks in the ambulance en route.

It’s important for any aspiring paramedic to get to know these procedures, as well as the equipment and medication that may be needed in such situations. The Video Vault from The Paramedic Coach can help you understand how paramedics respond to a heart attack as it includes vital information, including a paramedic medication test, that can help you learn everything you need to know for the job.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

A heart attack can manifest in different ways. Common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain (e.g. pressure, tightness, pain, squeezing, or aching in the heart area)
  • Pain or discomfort that spread to the shoulders, arms, back, neck, jaw, teeth, or upper belly
  • Cold sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

Some heart attacks happen suddenly, but more often than not, people have warning signs at least a few hours in advance.

Causes of a Heart Attack

There are different possible causes behind a heart attack, but the most common are high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which correlate to poor heart health. Unexpected stress can also lead to heart attacks.

A family history of myocardial infarctions can also contribute to the likelihood that someone has a heart attack.

How Paramedics Respond to a Heart Attack

At the onset of a heart attack, paramedics are usually the first health professionals called to the scene. But how do paramedics deal with chest pain? Here’s a quick overview of how paramedics respond to a heart attack:

Scope the Area

When paramedics arrive to a call of a heart attack case, the first thing they may do is quickly scope the area. They will survey the area for any obstacles that may hinder transporting a patient from their current location to the ambulance to minimize the chances of putting more stress on the patient’s heart.

Assess Vital Signs

Once the paramedics reach the patient, they assess their vital signs, such as their blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate, and blood sugar levels.

Conduct an ECG

In most heart attack emergencies, paramedics will conduct an ECG to check the patient’s heart condition. This will help determine if the case is a heart attack or another cardiovascular emergency. 

Administer Medication

Paramedics will often give aspirin and pain relief or fluids to maintain the patient’s blood pressure and control any other symptoms.

Treat Critical Symptoms

If the patient’s vital signs or ECG exhibit critical symptoms, paramedics will treat those immediately, either before bringing the victim to the ambulance or on the way to a medical facility. For example, if a patient also exhibits signs of dehydration, paramedics may use normal saline to compensate for lost fluid.

Endorse to Specialists

At the end of their response, paramedics will transfer the patient to a specialist in a medical facility for proper care.

Learn How to Respond to a Heart Attack as a Paramedic

Paramedics respond to many heart attack cases in a year, so it’s important for aspiring emergency medical response professionals to learn how to deal with these emergencies. Our Video Vault can give you everything you need to know to become a successful paramedic, from basic procedures to essential paramedic medication. Get access to our top-level resources today!

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