Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack

The term “heart attack” is often mistakenly used to describe cardiac arrest. While a heart attack may cause cardiac arrest, the two terms don’t mean the same thing. Lets look at both the conditions here.

Cardiac Arrest

  • Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. Cardiac arrest is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.
  • Seconds later, a person comes unresponsive, is not breathing or is only gasping. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.
  • Cardiac arrest can be reversible in some victims if it’s treated within a few minutes. If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while there other calls ambulance and finds an AED.

Heart Attack

  • A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. A blocked artery prevents oxygen rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery beings to die.
  • Symptoms of heart attach may be immediate and may include intense discomfort in the chest or other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, cold sweats, and/or nausea/vomiting. More often, though, symptoms start slowly and persists for hours, days or weeks before a heart attack. Unlike with cardiac arrest, the heart usually does not step beating during a heart attack. The longer the person goes without treatment, the greater the damage.
  • Even if you’re no sure its a heart attack, call an ambulance. Every minute matters.

Most heart attacks do not lead to cardiac arrest. But when cardiac arrest occurs, heart attack is a common cause. Other conditions may also disrupt the hearts rhythm and lead to cardiac arrest.

Reference : http://www.aed.com/blog/tag/sudden-cardiac-arrest/

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Betul Erbasi says:

    I didn’t know the distinction between cardiac arrest and heart attack. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Most welcome. I am glad you found it useful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for explaining this because I honestly thought the two were the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Yup they are oftentimes confused.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. iamvhardik says:

    It was good to know the distinction between the two medical conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Yes it’s good to have some knowledge about these things.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Omatra7 says:

    On my dads death certificate they have it listed that he died from a myocardial infarction… which is another word for heart attack, but there was no way they could have saved him. He already had a heart stint installed 3 years prior because the chemo and radiation that he had from his cancer treatment damaged his organs – his heart was beyond repair.

    The paramedics could not save him at all. He went peacefully though holding my moms hand.

    Maybe they just generalize the terms ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      From a medical perspective, they all mean different things so it’s unlikely.

      Sorry for your loss. May the peace be with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Omatra7 says:

        Thank you ❤️✌️
        Stay safe and well

        Liked by 1 person

      2. GS says:

        You too. May we all stay healthy.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. clcouch123 says:

    I had a heart attack, and I didn’t hear the term “cardiac arrest” used. Other terms, yes, especially regarding the after-effects. Ventricular dysfunction and congestive heart failure. I wish I had known more before. I appreciate your sharing this information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Most welcome. These are often times used and confuses the patent.

      Like

  6. Very informative…Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      It’s vital that people learn to identify and manage heart disease risk factors, such as heart-healthy eating, regular exercise, and seeing a doctor to measure blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. Glad you found it informative.

      Like

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