Angina – First Aid

What is Angina?

Angina occurs when the arteries that supply the heart with blood become hardened and narrowed. This means they restrict the amount of blood getting to the heart. Chest pain may be felt during exertion, excitement or stress. An attack forces the person to rest and the pain should ease soon afterwards.

How do I recognise an angina attack?

  • Persistent, vice-like central chest pain, which may spread to the jaw and down one or both arms.
  • The pain eases with rest. If the pain doesn’t ease with rest, suspect a heart attack.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Extreme tiredness which is often sudden.
  • Feeling of anxiety.

What do I do if I suspect someone’s having an angina attack?

  • Reassure the casualty.
  • Make the casualty as comfortable as possible to ease the strain on their heart. The ‘W’ position can help: help them into a half sitting position, with their head and shoulders supported and knees bent. Place a cushion or similar under their bent knees if possible.
  • Ask the casualty whether they have angina and whether they have any medication for it.
  • If the casualty has medication for angina, such as a spray, encourage them to use it. Help them if necessary.
  • If the pain subsides after rest/and/or medication, the casualty may not need further medical assistance.
  • If the casualty is concerned, they could seek medical advice.
  • If the pain persists or returns, suspect a heart attack.

Learn more about angina here:


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