Heart Myths

Fact vs Fiction

Medical emergencies can happen anywhere, at anytime and with little to no warning. Recent, popular myths have caused some people to act on fiction rather than fact during critical life or death situations. To make sure you receive the proper information, the following list of the most popular heart-related myths and their ACTUAL facts has been created:

Fiction: I don’t want to perform CPR because I don’t want to give mouth-to-mouth to a stranger.

Answer: In 2008, the American Heart Association revised its instructions for bystander CPR. Bystanders are now encouraged to administer "compression-only" CPR as an alternative to the previous mouth-to-mouth breathing method.

Medical dispatchers, here at Medic, do not instruct callers to administer mouth-to-mouth breathing when performing CPR. However, if they prefer, callers may choose to give mouth-to-mouth breathing to the victim.

Fiction: I may get sued if I perform CPR and the person dies.

Answer: False. The Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2000 protects Good Samaritan’s who attempt to save a person’s life through the use of an AED and/or through CPR from legal prosecution.

Fiction: A person can cough while having a heart attack and prevent the heart attack from going any further.

Answer: False. This claim is what’s known as "cough CPR." Cough CPR is a popular urban legend and its actual use is generally limited to monitored patients with a witnessed cardiac arrest in a hospital setting.

Fiction: You must touch the victim while the AED delivers the shock.

Answer: False. For your safety, do NOT touch the victim while the AED analyzes the person’s heart rhythm or when the AED delivers a shock to the victim.

Fiction: Women don’t get heart disease.

Answer: False. Women do suffer from heart disease. In fact, coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Twice as many American women die from heart disease than from all existing types of cancer, including breast cancer.

Helpful Links

To view more information on popular heart-related myths, please click on these helpful links below:

AdvancedMed Hanford

AEDs and CPR: Myth vs. Reality

American Heart Association