First aid for circulatory problems, heart attacks or bleeding

How do we help a client or someone close to us when they get a heart attack or sudden bleeding? It is worthwhile to familiarize ourselves in advance with the right courses of action, rather than nervously searching for information in a hurry when such a situation happens to us.

First aid in heart attack and circulatory problems

Problems with the functioning of the cardiovascular system can be influenced by various causes:

  • Lack of oxygen in the body due to breathing problems or respiratory arrest
  • Electricity in the body due to electrocution
  • Hemorrhage

However, the most common heart disease is myocardial infarction, in which a coronary artery (i.e., a blood vessel for oxygen supply) becomes blocked. A heart attack can happen to people of any age. However, there are risk factors that significantly increase the risk of the disease in some people:

  • Lack of exercise, being overweight and poor nutrition
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking

Whenever the heart causes problems, a high level of vigilance should be maintained. The heart is the engine of human life. If the heart muscle fails and appropriate measures are not taken, the victim dies within minutes.


  • Severe pain, often radiating toward the left shoulder
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Pale, slightly bluish complexion
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Profuse sweating
  • Weakness

Assessment of the situation:

  • How severe are the symptoms of a heart attack? Is there a risk of complete cardiac arrest (loss of consciousness, no breathing)?
  • Does the injured person have tight clothing that can be unbuttoned or removed if necessary?
  • Are there any additional injuries that need to be addressed?


Turn to the injured person and check that he or she is breathing freely
Make an emergency call to summon an ambulance
Place the injured person in a stable position with the upper body raised
Loosen the victim’s tight clothing (take off the tie, unbutton the shirt/blouse, remove the jacket)
Reassure the injured person and control his breathing
In the case of a heart attack, the first-aider controls the victim’s vital functions to prevent cardiac arrest. In the event of cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be started immediately.

First aid for bleeding

Profuse bleeding in most cases means a condition that threatens not only health, but also life. In an adult, the loss of 1 liter of blood causes a real threat to life. In principle, however, it does not matter how big the wound is – it should always be treated.

Bleeding should be treated not only because of blood loss, but also to prevent germs from entering the open wound.


When the victim is in a supine position, blood often accumulates in what is known as a “pool of blood.”
Find the exit of the wound
Assessment of the situation:

What is the cause of the wound?

  • accident
  • cut wound
  • fracture
  • electrocution

How strong is the bleeding?

  • weak, such as with abrasions
  • moderate, such as from a cut wound
  • severe, e.g., due to amputation


  • Turn to the injured person
  • Check for breathing
  • Identify the type of wound
  • Place the victim in a safe position
  • Release the blood flow to the wound (e.g., for a wound on the arm or leg, lift the arm or leg)
  • Make an emergency call to summon an ambulance
  • Disinfect and cover the wound with sterile material (e.g., poultice, gauze)
  • Secure the dressing (e.g., bandage, adhesive patch)
  • Keep the body warm
  • Reassure the injured person and monitor his breathing

A compression bandage is applied to a very badly bleeding wound. In order to prevent severe blood loss, thereby preventing shock, a pressure bandage should be applied before making an emergency call!

When dressing wounds, the general rule is that the wound dressing should be larger than the wound itself and sterile (i.e., germ-free) to prevent infection and inflammation!