Can Coughing Stop a Heart Attack?

Medically Reviewed

Q. I’ve heard that you can stop a heart attack in progress by coughing. Is this true?

A. In a word, no, although this myth has been circulating on the internet and social media for some time. Simply put: If you suspect you or someone with you is having a heart attack, don’t waste time trying to treat it with coughing. Call emergency services and follow their instructions (including CPR if indicated) until assistance arrives.

One thing you can do, while you wait for help, though, is chew on a full-strength (325 mg) uncoated aspirin tablet, which slows the blood from clotting and can help prevent further blockage in the blood vessels.