The first 10 minutes of a Heart Attack

Lee Peak

one of Accredited Trainers at Growth Training Group

What to look for.

  • Chest discomfort or pain (angina). This can feel like uncomfortable pressure, aching, numbness,squeezing, fullness or pain in your chest. This discomfort can spread to your arms, neck, jaw or back. It can last for several minutes or come and go
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, feeling faint or feeling anxious
  • Nausea, indigestion, vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing – with or without chest discomfort
  • Sweating or a cold sweat.

Call 112 / 000 immediately while waiting with your patient.

We have heard over and over that Time is Muscle. What does this mean?
A Heart Attack is a common term describing an event within the Heart Muscle. As with all muscles in the body,
it needs a generous supply of Oxygen. So, if we look at the blood vessels that give the heart muscle its vital
oxygen, a sudden complete blockage of one will stop the flow of blood to a section of cardiac muscle
eventually resulting in the destruction of heart tissue otherwise known as a Heart Attack or medically, Acute
Myocardial Infarction (AMI). Acute = Sudden, Myo=muscle, Cardial=Heart, Infarction=Death. (Myocardium is a
layer of the heart muscle).

The clot within the Coronary (Heart) blood vessel is generally caused by the plaque (mainly Cholesterol and
Calcium) deposits along the lining of the coronary vessel’s tears or ruptures under stress and our sticky blood
platelets begin the clotting process and a blockage occurs.
So, the longer that the Heart Attack goes untreated, the greater the damage to the heart muscle, hence Time
is Muscle.

What can the First Aider do to significantly change the outcome with a Heart Attack patient?
The Heart Foundation as with many other peak bodies recommends a simple life saving treatment.

Anyone who presents with chest pain, regardless of the complexities of other signs and symptoms must be
administered 1 whole Aspirin tablet (300mg) to be chewed in the mouth. The Aspirin is rapidly absorbed and
enters the bloodstream causing the clot to dissolve in minutes.

Once the clot is dissolved, normal blood supply begins to flow to the damaged heart muscle. The restoration of
circulation doesn’t repair the damage, rather it stops any further damage occurring.

Of course, anyone who presents with chest pain must be made comfortable and rested. Generally, if the
symptoms wane and disappears with rest and a full recovery happens within 10 minutes, this is deemed a non-
heart attack event. Rather most likely an Angina Attack. Angina is a non-life-threatening event (a story for
another day). An emergency ambulance 112 / 000 should be sort for any chest pain especially if the pain lasts
for more than 10 minutes.

The Chest Pain patient needs to be watched closely as if the Heart is damaged, the pumping action of the heart
will be affected, hence the blood flow around the body will be affected. This can lead to shock and possibly
death (Cardiac Arrest).

Call 112 / 000 immediately while waiting with your patient.
Take care,

Download for your Team the following: Warning Signs Action Plan from the Heart Foundation

How to have conversations at work or at home?

  • Place this action planc in the lunch room or in a highly visible area
  • Include this resource in your staff newsletter
  • Arrange First Aid Training for your Team so they can be more prepared to manage the situation  To book your team visit
  • For more information please visit

It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.