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Close monitoring will show any dangerously abnormal heart rhythms before they go on to develop fibrillation. The abnormal rhythm can then be reversed by the injection of drugs.

Should ventricular fibrillation occur, it can be reversed by using a defibrillator machine to give an electric shock directly over the heart.

Mobile intensive care units (MICA) are ambulances with specially-trained officers who can take cardiographs, interpret them and set up intravenous infusions.

They can give drugs, defibrillate the heart and carry out heart massage. As well, they transport the victim to the nearest coronary care centre. In this way, the victim gets expert help as soon as possible and so reduces the risk of sudden death.

If you develop chest pain which you think may be due to a heart attack, seek medical help at once.

If your doctor is unavailable, phone for an ambulance or get someone to take you to the nearest public hospital.

If it isn’t a heart attack, proper examination will show this and no harm has been done.

If there is a doubt, you may be admitted and investigated then discharged.

If it is a heart attack, early treatment will give you the best chance of survival.

But, please, have another look at those risk factors I referred to earlier in this article. How many do you have?

Now, what are you going to do about them?


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