Spouses of people who suffer a sudden heart attack (an acute myocardial infarction) have an increased risk of depression, anxiety, or suicide after the event, even if their partner survives, according to new research.

The study published in the European Heart Journal, suggests that they suffer more than spouses of people who die from, or survive, other conditions.

Scroll to find out what do in heart attack emergency

Researchers also noted that men are more more susceptible to depression and suicide after their wife's survival or death from an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), than women.

st john ambulance rescue ron
St John Ambulance online game tests knowledge of emergency first aid

"We found that more than three times the number of people whose spouses died from an AMI were using antidepressants in the year after the event compared with the year before," said the Danish author of the study, Dr Emil Fosbøl, in a statement.

Today, St John Ambulance launched its first online game, Rescue Run to help introduce people to life-saving first aid online.

The game sees the main character, Ron, race against the clock down streets such as Accident Avenue and Calamity Close to meet friends at the cinema on time, while gaining points by using basic first aid skills to help people along the way.

Each casualty suffers from one of five ways people can die when basic first aid could have given them a chance to live.

st john ambulance rescue ron

Rescue Ron is tested on his first-aid skills

These are choking, severe bleeding, chest pains, unconscious and not breathing (needing cardiopulmonary resuscitation; CPR) and unconscious but breathing (the recovery position).

Sue Killen, CEO, St John Ambulance said: "Up to 150,000 people die needlessly each year in instances where first aid could have given them a chance to live."

As part of their research of Danish spouses, researchers speculated it is the sudden and unexpected nature of an AMI that causes the more extreme impact on the spouse.

"If your partner dies suddenly from a heart attack, you have no time to prepare psychologically for the death, whereas if someone is ill with, for example, cancer, there is more time to grow used to the idea," said Dr Fosbøl. "The larger psychological impact of a sudden loss is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder."

For more information about first aid or St John Ambulance visit www.sja.org.uk or go to their Facebook page.

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  • Step One

    Sit the casualty down in a half sitting position with their knees bent and head and shoulders supported.

  • Step Two

    Call for help. Either call 999 or 112 for emergency help and tell ambulance control you suspect a heart attack.

  • Step Three

    Keep the casualty as calm as possible and reassured

  • Step Four

    Try and find some aspirin (300mg) and if the person isn't allergic to it, tell them to chew it slowly - it can help to limit the extent of the damage to the heart muscle.

  • Step Five

    Monitor the condition of the casualty and reassure them while help arrives.

  • Step Six

    Be informed for the future. For more details about first aid or St John Ambulance <a href="http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx" target="_hplink">visit www.sja.org.uk</a> or go to their <a href="http://www.facebook.com/SJA" target="_hplink">Facebook </a>page.