Diving Heart Attack - Predisposing Risk Factors
Predisposing factors of a scuba diving heart attack may include male gender, increased age, high blood pressure, overexertion, obesity, diabetes mellitus (DM), smoking, and the use of certain drugs or medications before diving.
The risk of a diving heart attack may also increase if your family has a history of heart disease.
Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms
- Central chest pain may radiate to the arms and up to the jaw
- Indigestion and nausea
- Pallor, sweating
- Dizziness, anxiety, and shortness of breath
- Heart irregularities and/or palpitations
- Unconsciousness, no breathing and pulse
- Cyanosis (blueness)
- Fixed, dilated pupils
Heart Attack Treatment (conscious diver)
- If short of breath, the injured diver may prefer to sit up
- Provide oxygen (preferably by constant flow)
- Monitor the consciousness, airway, breathing and pulse
- Call for immediate medical assistance
Heart Attack Treatment (unconscious diver)
STOP - Assess and observe the scene
THINK - Consider your safety and form action plan
ACT - Check responsiveness
- Begin CPR by providing 30 chest compressions, then open the airway and give two breaths
- If you suspect possible drowning, begin CPR with rescue breaths before chest compressions
- Compress adult chest to a depth of at least 2 inches (5 cm) giving compressions at a rate of at least 100 per minute (push hard & fast)
- To minimize interruptions in chest compressions, if there is more than one rescuer present, continue CPR while the AED is switched on and the pads are being placed on the patient
- Reduced emphasis on barrier use when providing CPR, although still recommended, treatment should not be delayed if barriers are not available
- If the patient begins breathing, manage serious bleeding wounds, follow the basic steps for managing shock symptoms, and protect from spinal injuries.
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