Does “cough CPR” work?

Ask the doctor


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Q. A friend of mine shared a Facebook post about how to survive a heart attack when you're alone. It says that you should cough very forcefully every few seconds until help arrives. Can that actually help?

A. This "advice" has been circulating around the Internet for nearly 20 years. I was reluctant to even address this question out of concern for perpetuating the idea of "cough CPR" or causing undue worry. However, I think it's important to clear up the confusion around this topic.

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