Angina

Angina pectoris refers to a pain in the front of the left chest (pectoral region), though it may affect any part of the body between the umbilicus to ears, and from right to left wrist.

During exertion or excitement our heart muscles require extra blood supply. If the coronary artery (blood vessel supplying blood to the heart) is narrowed there is insufficient supply of blood to the heart muscles which results in pain.

First Aid

Angina during exertion or due to excitement

  • Make the victim comfortable and make him sit in a relaxed position. Even the slightest amount of exertion like walking or movement is to be avoided. Angina is a self limiting condition and most cases resolve by this alone.
  • If the victim is carrying a medicine for angina which has been prescribed by the doctor, make the him / her take the medicine in the prescribed dose.
  • If the pain persists beyond a few minutes in spite of giving the medication, call a doctor, or carry the victim immediately to a medical institution equipped to handle cardiac cases. Don’t wait for an ambulance. It is better to call any car and carry him sitting to the hospital if required to save time. Also, if available, and if there is a definite history of angina pain in the past, and the pain persists even on rest, give the patient half a tablet of dispersible or chewable aspirin (remember, only half a tablet) with a little milk or food (it prevents blood clot from progressing – a vital part of heart attack therapy) followed by a tablet of isosorbide dinitrate 5 mg to suck (not to be swallowed). Repeat the latter every 15 minutes either till there is relief of pain or there is a headache or a doctor arrives or you arrive with the patient at the hospital.

CAUTION:

  • Do not give aspirin to a patient having a history of acute peptic dyspepsia, peptic ulcers, acute gastritis or bleeding disorders. Do not give aspirin on empty stomach.

Angina at rest (Possible heart attack)

Angina at rest requires immediate medical attention and the patient should be rushed to the hospital without any delay. If the victim is carrying a medicine for angina which has been prescribed by the doctor, it can be administered while the patient is being shifted to the hospital. Also, if available, and if there is a definite history of angina pain in the past, give the patient half a tablet of dispersible or chewable aspirin (remember, only half a tablet) with a little milk or food (it prevents blood clot from progressing – a vital part of heart attack therapy) followed by a tablet of isosorbide dinitrate 5 mg to suck (not to be swallowed). Repeat the latter every 15 minutes either till there is relief of pain or there is a headache or a doctor arrives or you arrive with the patient at the hospital.

CAUTION:

  • Do not give aspirin to a patient having a history of acute peptic dyspepsia, peptic ulcers, acute gastritis or bleeding disorders. Do not give aspirin on empty stomach.