Paramedic students set hearts a flutter
Paramedic students set hearts a flutter as
they handed out hundreds of Valentine’s cards to fellow students at
the University of Greenwich and Brighton University.
The cards, courtesy of the South East Coast
Ambulance Service (SECAmb), highlighted the main controllable risk
factors associated with coronary heart disease - the UK’s number
one killer - along with advice about when to call 999 for a
suspected heart attack.
“It’s not something you usually think about,”
said one 20-year-old student, “you normally associate heart
problems with older people.”
Although not a high risk group for heart
attacks, the students believed that an awareness of heart health
was important; both in terms of how what they do now will affect
them later in life, and knowing when to call 999 if somebody nearby
suffers a heart attack.
Awareness on campus ranged from the
well-informed to the not so knowledgeable. Many were interested in
improving their clarity about the symptoms of a heart attack; their
knowledge being refined to ‘a kind of chest pain.’
Other heart attack symptoms include: the chest
pain spreading to the arms, neck, back or stomach, feeling light
headed or dizzy, shortness of breath, and also feeling nauseous or
SECAmb has links with undergraduate programmes
at both universities. David Kerr, course leader at the University
of Greenwich, said: “I am delighted that our student Paramedics
were keen to support this important initiative from SECAmb to
highlight the controllable risk factors in coronary heart
A heart attack is caused when the supply of
blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.
The lack of blood to the heart can seriously damage the heart
muscles and if left untreated, the muscles will begin to die, but
unblocking the vessel can prevent this.
SECAmb Medical Director, Dr Jane Pateman,
said: “Students can play their part by recognising the signs of a
heart attack and acting quickly. It could be their mum, granny, or
uncle having a heart attack, or somebody they just happen to
witness in the street.
“Damage to heart muscle caused during an
attack can be undone, provided the warning signs are spotted and
the patient is treated quickly. Younger people can do their bit by
calling 999 straight away if they believe somebody is suffering a
Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of
death in England. Each year in England, an estimated 111,000 people
have a heart attack.
Over the last decade, death rates from heart
attacks in England have fallen by around 25% as changes in
treatment have become available.