In-flight heart attack, what to do? In-flight heart attack, what to do?
Even if you are prepared for your next travel or plane ride, there are some things which will surprise us. We don’t mean noisy... In-flight heart attack, what to do?

Even if you are prepared for your next travel or plane ride, there are some things which will surprise us. We don’t mean noisy passengers or rude seatmates. We mean medical emergencies such as heart attack.

how to manage heart attack in planes

Difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest

First of all, let’s talk about the difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest. Heart attack is known medically as myocardial infarction. This means that there is a blood clot and it blocks the coronary arteries. If this happens, your heart will be deprived of oxygen and the cells will die. On the other hand, cardiac arrest means it develops an arrhythmia and it will cause the heart to stop beating.

What are the symptoms of heart attack?

Here are some the most common signs of having a heart attack. Please be very conscious about your own health and with whoever you are traveling with.

  • pain in the chest area
  • shortness of breath
  • heartburn
  • sweating
  • upper back pain
  • toothache or jaw pain
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • pain in the upper-middle abdomen
  • arm pains

What to do when someone had an in-flight heart attack?

If you feel the symptoms above, or a passenger near you look uncomfortable, call the attention of the flight attendant before it’s too late.

According to experts, there are three things that you need when there is an in-flight heart attack. These should be found in the medical kit of the plane.

  • aspirin (chewable)
  • oxygen
  • nitroglycerin

Just in case a person has an intolerance to aspirin, it should still be chewed and swallowed the soonest possible time. Of course, the case is different if someone is allergic to aspirin as it will cause further danger. This is why it is important to know if you have specific medical conditions before going on a trip.

What are the symptoms of cardiac arrest?

When a person experiences cardiac arrest, they would usually be unconscious. Again, cardiac arrest means that the heart stopped beating. If this happens in your flight, remember that you are battling with time. Here are the things you have to do right away:

  • See if there are medical professionals in the flight.
  • Check if the person is really unconscious.
  • Bring the person to the aisle.
  • Do chest compressions, if you are capable of doing it.

Just follow these quick steps and you can save lives.

It’s also good that airlines have already established protocols on what to do when a similar emergency situation arises. They do extensive training and even simulate different scenarios to heighten their preparedness.

Preventive measures

Now, if you are about to travel or to take a plane, make sure to know your own health condition. This is so you can prepare your medications and inform the airlines if you have special needs. It is advisable to check with your physician on the essential items that you need to carry. Again, you’ll never know what might happen. It’s always better to be prepared.

So, do you have more tips to share? Or have you experienced this during a flight? We encourage you to share your experiences with us. It can save another passenger.



Barbara is a young mother of 2 adorable kids whom she enjoyed playing with. She started living healthy when she realized that she has to keep up with her kids' energy. On her free time, she writes, sings, and tries to cook pancake for her children.

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