What To Do When Having A Heart Attack on a Plane

There are few ideas more frightening than suffering a heart attack on a plane. Most likely, there will be little to no help and the limited air pressure so high up above the clouds will make it worse. While this is a rare occurrence, there are ways to deal with having a heart attack while on a plane. This can be a life or death circumstance and it is always wise to be prepared.

Initial Steps For Life Preservation

Perhaps the first thing that should be noted is that males and females experience a heart attack differently. More specifically, they present different symptoms that an observer should be aware of.

Women's symptoms tend to be more complex. Outside of the typical sharp chest pains, they also display back or jaw pain, shortness of breath, or nausea. With most men, it's simply the chest pain. It's smart to know all the signs of a heart attack, however.

Other Symptoms to Watch Out For

Besides those listed above, both men and women may experience arm pain, sweating, malaise, and heartburn while having a heart attack. However, in some cases a heart attack will present no symptoms at all, though this is mostly just the case of those who have diabetes mellitus.

If you're at risk for a heart attack, make sure you're always prepared. The three essential items to assist with a heart attack are nitroglycerin, oxygen, and an aspirin -- all potentially available on a plane if you've prepared yourself.

Avoid Cardiac Arrest With These Three Things

The three items listed above can keep the situation from escalating into full-on cardiac arrest. In the case that you're trying to help someone and they lose consciousness, it's important to note that there are actions an observer can take to administer further aid.

Make sure the person is unconscious before proceeding. Lay them down, preferably in the aisle as CPR would be difficult to do this in plane seats. Then begin compressing their chest. Typically, CPR occurs only after the situation has escalated. It is always important as a passenger to be aware of the signs of a heart attack, and it's always important for at-risk passengers to come prepared. Fortunately, flight attendants should also be trained to handle the situation.