Perhaps you've read, even in a node
here on E2
that one can survive a heart attack by coughing, but this is an urban legend
According to http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blcpr.htm. this advice was originally attributed to the Rochester General Hospital and Mended Hearts support group. Like with most legends like this there was never an endorsement of any kind.
Unlike most legends, "Cough CPR" is a real procedure that is used in emergency situations. Dr. Stephen Bohan of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston explained in the Washington Post (Feb. 15, 2000) that in certain instances where a patient has abnormal heart rhythms, coughing can help restore them to normal. But most heart attacks, he said, are not of this type. Bohan told the Post the best thing a heart attack victim can do is take an aspirin (which helps dissolve blood clots) and call 911.
Darla Bonham, the Rochester General Hospital and Mended Hearts executive director, has since issued a statement which reads, in part:
I've received email from people all across the country wanting to know if it is a valid medically approved procedure. I contacted a scientist on staff with the American Heart Association Emergency Cardiac Care division, and he was able to track a possible source of the information. The information comes from a professional textbook on emergency cardiac care. This procedure is also known as "cough CPR" and is used in emergency situations by professional staff. The American Heart Association does not recommend that the public use this method in a situation where there is no medical supervision.