Beware of Email Advice

Hundreds of people around the country have been receiving an e-mail message entitled “How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone.” This article recommends a procedure to survive a heart attack in which the victim is advised to repeatedly cough at regular intervals until help arrives.

The source of information for this article was attributed to ViaHealth Rochester General Hospital. This article is growing in popularity on the Internet as individuals send it to friends and acquaintances. There has been no record found that an article even resembling this was produced by Rochester General Hospital within the last 20 years. Also the medical information listed in the article cannot be verified by any current medical literature. The Mended Hearts, Inc., a support organization for heart patients, and the American Heart Association have both asked that this information not be forwarded or used by anyone.

Another organization distancing itself from this technique is The American Red Cross. They do not endorse the “How to Survive A Heart Attack When Alone” coughing technique that is being publicized on the Internet. As stated on their website, ?The American Red Cross develops materials from the consensus of medical opinion such as the National Academy of Sciences, the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiac Care Committee, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Emergency Physicians. To date, there is insufficient scientific research concerning the efficacy of Cough CPR. Therefore, American Red Cross cannot advocate teaching the technique until it has been thoroughly tested in national studies and found to be effective.?