DEALING WITH CARDIC EMERGENCIES
Differential diagnosis of non-traumatic chest pain is challenging. Therefore any patient exhibiting signs and symptoms of chest pain that cannot be attributed to a non-cardiac origin, should be managed as if the origin is cardiac. Younger people may complain of rapid uncontrolled heart rate without chest pain.
Treatment for Cardiac Emergencies:
- Reduce anxiety and activity. Place patient in a position of comfort. Avoid walking if possible.
- Administer high-flow/high-concentration oxygen, if available.
- Assist patient with administration of his or her nitroglycerin, 0.4mg SL spray or tablet, may be repeated every 5 minutes for a total of three doses if the systolic BP remains above 90mmHg.
- Administer one-half adult aspirin (160mg) or two baby aspirin (8lmg each) every 24 hours.
Evacuation Guidelines for Cardiac Emergencies:
- Any patient with chest pain that does not relieve within 20 minutes.
- Any patient with non-traumatic chest pain that subsided with rest or medication.
- Any patient with sustained periods of rapid heart rate.
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Schimelpfenig, Tod and Linda Lindsey. “Respiratory and Cardiac Emergencies, Seizures, Diabetes and Unconscious States.” Wilderness First Aid 3rd ed. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, 2000. Chapter 18.
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