A self-administered CPR procedure involving coughing can save you during a heart attack-Fiction!

A Self-Administered CPR Procedure Involving Coughing Can Save You During a Heart Attack-Not Recommended!

Summary of eRumor: 
This email says that in the event of a heart attack when you are by yourself, coughing repeatedly and vigorously can keep the heart beating until help arrives.

The Truth:

TruthOrFiction.com has checked with several sources, including the American Heart Association, and none of them recommends relying on this procedure.

The version of the eRumor that has gotten the most circulation on the Internet originated from an article in a newsletter published by a chapter of the Mended Hearts organization, whose members are heart attack survivors.  Mended Hearts has retracted the article.

Doctors say the coughing procedure has been used on limited and experimental occasions with patients experiencing cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.  Even then, the patients were in the hospital, connected to monitors, and the coughing was used to try to buy a few extra seconds before other, life saving equipment was used.  There aren’t any known cases where a person who was alone suffered a heart attack and sustained himself or herself while waiting for paramedics to arrive.   In a true heart attack where the blood supply to the heart is blocked, the “coughing CPR” would not do any good.

All the sources we checked with agreed:  If a heart episode is happening, call 9-1-1.