Heart Attack/Angina

Recognise, act and treat immediately  

Did you know? 

It is estimated that someone has a heart attack in the UK every two minutes. That's about 275,000 people a year, out of which 120,000 could potentially be fatal.  


What is a heart attack?


Also known as a Myocardial Infarction, a Heart Attack is caused by a blockage (clot) in the coronary arteries (main arteries that transport blood into and out of the heart). As a result of the blockage, part of the heart muscle is deprived of blood and oxygen. The muscle begins to die and the heart cannot function properly. Ultimately the heart will stop beating resulting in a death of the casualty. As with all emergencies time is critical as the heart attack is a life threatening condition.  


- Vice like, crushing pain which may radiate down the arm(s) or up to the jaw.  

- Rapid breathing 

- Shortness of breath

- Rapid or irregular pulse


- Fear and anxiety 


- Impending sense of doom


- Pale, cold and clammy skin, 'ashen' in colour, blueness around the lips


- Collapse without warning  



- Unlike an Angina the pain will not ease with rest

- Sit the casualty on the floor against a well and bend at the knees with support


- Dial 999/112 and call for an ambulance, advising a suspected heart attack


- Assist the casualty to take 300mg of aspirin (ensure the casualty is not allergic), and advise to chew slowly 


- Allow the casualty to take their own angina medication, assist them to do so if necessary


- Ensure the casualty rests and remains calm


- Locate an AED and be prepared to resuscitate in the event the condition becomes worse  

What is an Angina?

Angina pectoris is the narrowing of the coronary arteries, is a type of chest pain a casualty experiences when the arteries carrying blood to their heart muscle are narrowed.  This can restrict the blood supply and cause pain called an angina attack.

An angina attack is different from a heart attack, where the blood supply to the heart muscle is blocked, and are usually caused by physical exertion, stress or excitement. 

Angina is not life-threatening on its own, although, someone who suffers from it is at far greater risk of having life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.

If the casualty rests and take angina medication, the pain should only last a few minutes. 


- Vice like, crushing chest pain which may radiate down the arm(s) or up the jaw


- Rapid breathing


- Shortness of breath


- Fear and anxiety


- Pale, cold, and clammy skin



- Pain will ease with rest

Sit the casualty on the floor against a well and bend at the knees with support

- Allow the casualty to take their own medication, assist them to do so if necessary

- If the pain does not ease with rest, treat as a heart attack 

- Dial 999/112 ad ask for an ambulance 

- Be prepared to resuscitate