accessibility & help

First aid for a
heart attack

Watch the video, in which Ahmet is helped during a heart attack.

Use the information below the video to remind yourself how to help someone who is having a heart attack.


The person may have persistent, vice-like chest pain, which may spread to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.

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This pain is caused by a blockage of the blood supply to the heart muscle, and the pain will not ease with rest.


Call 999 immediately or get someone else to do it.

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The person must receive medical assistance as soon as possible, because a heart attack is potentially very serious and needs immediate attention.


Make sure they are in a position that is comfortable for them (e.g. sit them on the floor, leaning against a wall or chair).

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This will ease the strain on the heart. Sitting them on the floor means they are less likely to hurt themselves if they collapse.


Give them constant reassurance while waiting for the ambulance.

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Send us your stories

We love to hear from people who have stepped forward to help in a first aid emergency. If you have a first aid story that you'd be happy to share, please email including your name, telephone number and some brief details about what happened. The British Red Cross will only use your information to contact you about your first aid story.

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“I knew I needed to remain calm”

Tim helped save Tony's life when he had a heart attack.

Tim Connor knew first aid for a heart attack which is why colleague Tony Wong is alive and well today.

Read Tony's story >