We have been asked many times on courses if coughing whilst having a heart attack can stop it, make you better or keep you going until the paramedics.
It is scary how advice like this spreads over social media and might lead people to make a fatal mistake. It is absolutely vital if you think you or someone else is having a heart attack that you call the emergency services. This will start the treatment process as soon as possible, the ambulance crew can assess and help you and get you to the hospital.
There is absolutely no evidence from medical professionals to support the so called ‘Cough CPR’ that has been doing the rounds since 1999, which suggests that you can help yourself if having a heart attack by vigorously coughing.
A heart attack is normally caused by a blood clot which interrupts the blood supply to the heart muscle and this can in turn lead to a cardiac arrest which is where the heart stops pumping blood around the body. If this were to happen the recommended treatment is CPR and a defibrillator being used, but urgent medical treatment is needed.
This is called the chain of survival – Early call to 999, early CPR, early defib and early medical treatment.
So no – you can’t help yourself if you have a heart attack just by coughing, ignore it and even more importantly… don’t share it!