Don’t Cough! Call 911!
A gentleman whom I respect recently shared some advice about how to provide yourself with your own self-administered CPR. The story he told happened when he was experiencing what he believed to be a heart attack. Instead of calling 911, he recruited a co-worker to drive him in rush-hour traffic to the hospital. He then started to give himself what he described as “self-help CPR”. He said, and I quote, “I had read about self-CPR and I started to use it to stay conscious. This is important. You cough hard every two seconds. It massages the heart and keeps it beating while you get help. People with heart attacks have been able to drive themselves to the hospital. I started doing that even though it hurt my chest; at least pain told me I was still alive.” It is important to note that when he finally did get to the hospital, it turned out that he was NOT suffering a heart-attack. But it made me wonder, can we really give ourselves “Cough-CPR” to save our lives during a heart attack? One of the great things about modern technology is you can look up almost anything on the internet. I went to http://urbanlegends.about.com, to check out this self-CPR idea. They report that legend of self-help CPR began with a 1999 email that was circulated which stated that you can save your own life during a heart attack by coughing. About.com experts checked it out with a number of sources and found out that it is NOT an advisable thing to do. In fact, the American Heart Association specifically states that one should not attempt self-help CPR and that there is no validation of this particular method. On the contrary, belief in self-help CPR is dangerous because it can lead you to think it is safe to drive yourself to the hospital. Doctors say that the coughing procedure has only been used in very limited and experimental occasions with patients experiencing some sort of irregular heartbeats. There are no known cases where a person who was alone survived a heart attack by using Cough-CPR. In other words, if you experience intense chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack, don’t cough! Call 911 and allow the emergency medical system to get you the kind of help you need. *For more information on heart attacks and how to recognize the symptoms please click on the following links:The American Red Cross.