When you’re alone and suffering a heart attack, what should you do? According to some, cough CPR. Many of you have likely heard about this new practice when it took the social media world by storm a few months ago.
Cough CPR quickly gained popularity because of its simplicity and its surprising ability to keep the heart functioning during a heart attack, or so they say. Unfortunately, this technique may not be all that it’s coughed up to be.
Let’s take a closer look at what cough CPR is, why it’s believed to be helpful and why many clinical experts are debunking its effectiveness and safety.
What is cough CPR?
In theory, cough CPR is a technique that keeps the heart beating and keeps individuals conscious in the event of a heart attack. This technique uses coughing as a way to maintain blood flow to the brain by creating pressure in the chest.
Why is cough CPR helpful?
In the event of a heart attack, every second counts. That’s why experts recommend calling an ambulance at the first signs of a heart attack. While supporters of cough CPR don’t claim that it can prevent or stop a heart attack, it is believed to help keep the heart functioning while you wait for emergency medical care.
What do the experts say?
Cough CPR raises several concerns when it comes to emergency care for a heart attack. This is because the technique confuses a heart attackand cardiac arrest.
Heart attacks are the result of blocked blood flow to the heart. This is usually caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Because your heart will continue to beat during a heart attack, cough CPR, and its promise to maintain heart function, becomes ineffective.
On the other hand, cardiac arrest is when your heart abruptly stops beating. Most often cardiac arrest is caused by an arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. Because cough CPR is focused on maintaining heartbeat and blood flow, it can be an effective technique to use right after cardiac arrest.
Cough CPR may help to provide valuable time, but you should not delay calling 911 and seeking immediate medical care in the event of cardiac arrest. This is because defibrillation is the only way to restore a regular heartbeat after cardiac arrest.
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