This site is intended for health professionals only

TV heart attack myths "risk lives"

A charity has warned that people could be risking their lives by believing that scenes of heart attacks depict reality.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said that signs of a heart attack can be far more subtle than the scenes of people collapsing shown on screen.

The BHF found that 38% of more than 2,000 people questioned got information about heart attacks from TV and films and only 6% had discussed the issue with their GP. Around one in five did not know what heart attack symptoms were.

Each year almost 250,000 people in the UK suffer a heart attack with a third dying before reaching hospital. The BHF said this is often because they do not seek help quickly enough.

Marian Sherry, 61, who had a heart attack, said: "I was surprised to find out I'd had a heart attack because they always show people on television shows like Coronation Street keeling over.

"I just had a tight feeling across my chest and some pain up my arms but fortunately I got help in time."

The BHF is screening new advert - Watch Your Own Heart Attack - on ITV1 next Sunday at 9.17pm.