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Spring 2011

Botsford HealthSource Magazine


How to Survive a Heart Attack: Spot symptoms and know how to use an AED

If a red flashing sign suddenly appeared, proclaiming, “You’re having a heart attack,” you’d know what to do. You’d call 911 and take an ambulance to the emergency room.

But, signs of a heart attack—when blood flow is blocked to a section of the heart—are usually more subtle, and many Americans delay getting treatment.

“Heart attack treatment is most effective when started within an hour of the beginning of symptoms, so every minute is crucial,” says Sanford Vieder, D.O., Medical Director, Botsford Emergency Center. “Prompt care can prevent death or disability from a heart attack.”

Learning heart attack signs can save precious time.

They include:

Call 911 even if you are unsure it’s a heart attack. Don’t wait more than five minutes. And, don’t drive yourself to the hospital— paramedics can begin treatment at your home or on route to the hospital. Because every moment counts, many public places are now equipped with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). These devices are easy for bystanders to use and can save lives.

5 Facts About Heart-Saving AEDS

  1. Bystanders are often first to aid victims of cardiac arrest before medical personnel arrives. AEDs, of automated external defibrillators, are portable machines that can help bystanders save lives.

  2. You can find AEDs in many public places, such as malls, hotels and airports.

  3. They are simple and safe enough to be used by anyone.

  4. To use a AED, you attach the device's two sensors to the victim's chest. Instantly, the AED checks the person's heart rhythm. If the victim is truly in cardiac arrest, the AED prompts the bystander to push a button to deliver a shock. This restarts the heart.

  5. The American Heart Association strongly advises that people who think they may use a AED take a formal training class to avoid causing injury.


Other Resources

Life Support Training Institute


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