Aspirin Administration

In accordance with the requirements of the American Red Cross, Standard First Responder Training Protocols and approval from the Western Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services in Region 1, Amherst College First Responders will (after completion of this training) be able to administer baby aspirin to person(s) presenting the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

 Heart Attack - Recognition

Patients who are experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, (non-traumatic chest pain) may present with the following;

Chest pain which may come and go that might feel like significant pressure or a sharp pain. Difficulty breathing, pale or ashen skin, sweating most notably around the face, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea or vomiting as well as pain that may radiate down the left arm. 

Some individuals may not show the most common signs or symptoms.

Women may experience different signs and symptoms. If they present with chest pain or discomfort it may be sudden, sharp and short, which is typically felt outside the breastbone / sternum. Women may indicate unexplained fatigue or malaise, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, back or jaw pain.

Heart Attack – Care

CHECK - the patient, if they present with the signs and symptoms of a heart attack

CALL - the emergency number (413) 542-2111 or 911 

CARE - Have victim stop any activity and rest, loosen any clothing, and comfort and reassure the patient. Assist the patient with medication, such as nitroglycerin or aspirin. Provide oxygen (non-rebreather mask) or nasal cannula if they can’t tolerate mask.

Aspirin Administration

Make sure that the patient is conscious and showing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Verify that the ambulance has already been called, then ask the patient;

  1. Are you allergic to aspirin?
  2. Have you been told by your physician not to take aspirin?
  3. Are you taking any blood thinners, such as Coumadin™, Plavix ™, Warfarin™ or Xarelto?
  4. Do you have stomach disease or ulcers?

If the patient answers NO to all of these questions, you can provide the patient with (2baby strength aspirin (162mg), which must be chewed. If baby aspirin is not available, you can administer a single (1) 325mg regular aspirin, which must be “chewed”. You can provide a small glass of water to wash the regular strength aspirin down.

Continue to monitor the patient until the ambulance arrives…

I have read and understand the material stated above, and will comply with the guidelines established in this policy regarding Aspirin Administration.

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