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--- Jeff (4/5/2012)
Cough during a heart attack because “cough CPR” can shock your heart back into rhythm.

Think Twice: Cough During a Heart Attack

Don’t believe everything you read, especially when it comes to you via a forwarded email. A report that coughing can save your life during a heart attack spread rapidly this way, and is now widely believed. But just like those emails from Nigeria saying you’ve inherited a large sum of money, it’s a case of “too good to be true.”

Health experts say the technique, known as cough CPR, is unlikely to help at best, and dangerous at worst. Cough CPR has been used in controlled hospital settings to treat sudden life-threatening arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). By coughing vigorously and repeatedly, the patient may be able to force enough blood to the brain to help him stay conscious long enough for the heart to regain its natural rhythm. Coughing will not help all types of arrhythmias, and may make some worse. Besides, only a small percentage of heart attacks actually result in an arrhythmia. For these reasons, the American Heart Association (AHA) says cough CPR is unlikely to help most heart attack victims and should not be routinely taught.

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