Hoax Buster

Hoax - Doctors recommend that coughing repeatedly and very vigorously during a heart attack  increases the chance of surviving it.

Truth - Coughing maybe dangerous during a heart attack

I received this message from many of you on: "How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone" recommending - "if everyone who gets this sends it to 10 people, you can bet that we'll save at least one life."

The powerpoint presentation can be downloaded here - Incase of heart-attack (168.5 KB)
This chain e-mail recommends a procedure to survive a heart attack in which the victim is advised to repeatedly cough at regular intervals until help arrives. It claims that anyone who feels heart attack symptoms while alone should cough "repeatedly and very vigorously, repeating a breath about every two seconds…until help arrives, or (a normal heartbeat returns)."
Wow ....!!! "Save at least one life!" Who wouldn't want to do that? Many kind-hearted and caring brothers and sisters did just that by clicking "send" to everyone with the best of intentions of course - however, without a second thought as to the authencity of the information  After I read this message, I felt it somehow didn't seem the correct procedure to address a cardiac case. Results of a quick search basically confirmed that coughing will not fend off a heart attack!
If you think what you were recommending to your family, friends and those on your mailing list that this procedure might help one of them save their life, you should also know that to recommend them to use the cough CPR at the wrong time (because they trusted your email message and misjudged the kind of cardiac event being experienced) or went about it in the wrong way, could potentially be very harmful to someone undergoing a heart attack
Based on these findings, I have attached below the statements from the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross as well as three (3) search results on "How to survive a heart attack when alone"

The American Heart Association states that it does not endorse "cough CPR," a coughing procedure widely publicized on the Internet." Read the rest at:
American Red Cross statement - "The American Red Cross does not endorse the 'How to Survive A Heart Attack When Alone' coughing technique which is being publicized on the Internet." http://www.snopes.com/toxins/coughcpr.htm

Cough CPR is not a new procedure — it has been around for years and has been used successfully in isolated emergency cases where victims realized they were on the verge of fainting and about to go into full cardiac arrest (their hearts were about to stop) and knew exactly how to cough so as to keep enough oxygen-enriched blood circulating to prevent them from losing consciousness until help could be sought, or they were under the direct care of physicians who recognized the crises as they were taking place and were on hand to instruct patients step by step through the coughing. Even were the afflicted to correctly recognize they were experiencing the sort of cardiac event where cough CPR could help, without specific training to hit the right rhythms their coughing could turn mild heart attacks into fatal ones.

This is not to say cough CPR couldn't be effectively taught to patients deemed at risk of further heart attacks. According to a widely circulated news report surfacing in September 2003, a doctor in Poland has been attempting exactly that. Dr. Tadeusz Petelenz of the Silesian Medical Academy in Katowice Province claims to have successfully instructed a number of his patients in the procedure, but it should be noted his results have not been independently confirmed.

As with all medical rumors, the most prudent course of action is to verify the information with your own doctor or other medical professional before acting upon it or sharing it with others. 

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