A lot of times, you hear people using the terms heart attack and cardiac arrest interchangeably. However, it is wrong and can be dangerous too. Why? You ask. It is because one needs to take different actions when either of them occurs. Thus, when you know the difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest, you will be able to know what to do in that scenario. You need to begin by understanding the basics and signs of both of them. A heart attack happens when the blood supply to the heart stops that results in the portion of the heart to stop beating. Ultimately, it gradually dies. On the other hand, cardiac arrest is more intense as it stops the heart altogether from beating leading to the collapse of the person.
Definition of Heart Attack
A heart attack happens when an artery blocks which, in turn, prevents the blood rich in oxygen to reach the section of the heart. Thus, the blocked artery must be reopened quickly. This will ensure that the part of the heart normally nourished by the artery does not start dying. Further, time is of the essence. In other words, the longer it takes to get treatment, the greater will be the damage. A heart attack may have immediate and intense symptoms. They can start slowly and persist for hours, days, or even weeks before it occurs. Hence, it is the opposite of a sudden cardiac arrest in which the heart stops beating. The symptoms of a heart attack vary in men and women.
Definition of Cardiac Arrest
A cardiac arrest is sudden and takes place usually without any kind of warning. An electrical malfunction in the heart which results in an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) triggers a cardiac arrest. As it disrupts the pumping action, the heart is not able to pump blood to the brain, lungs, and other organs. As a result, the person loses consciousness and has no pulse within seconds. Moreover, if the victim does not get proper treatment in time, they may die in a matter of minutes.
Difference between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest
|Basis of Comparison||Heart Attack||Cardiac Arrest|
|Meaning||A heart attack is when a blocked artery prevents the blood rich in oxygen to reach the section of the heart.||It is the sudden loss of heart function in a person who may or may not has been diagnosed with heart disease.|
|Reason||It occurs when the blood flow to the heart gets blocked||It takes place when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly|
|Symptoms||Chest pain, shortness of breath, cold sweat, coughing and wheezing||Unconsciousness, shortness of breath and no pulse|
|Cause||Blood clots taking place in the arteries||Ventricular fibrillation|
|Common in||Smokers and person with unhealthy diets||Overweight people and ones who do not exercise regularly|
|Link||Heart attacks do not lead to cardiac arrest||A heart attack is a common cause when cardiac arrest happens|
|Action||Call emergency service, swallow aspiring (if allowed), start CPR (if unconscious)||Call emergency service, start CPR, use AED|
More details about Heart Attack
Every minute during a heart attack matters, so even if you are unsure, there is no harm in calling the emergency response number. The early arrival means the patient gets early treatment.
Further, you can also take the patient yourself by car in case there is no time. Thus, faster treatment may reduce any chances of irreversible damage.
More details about Cardiac Arrest
Time is of the essence during a cardiac arrest as well. Call emergency medical services right away. Further, you can also use an automated external defibrillator (AED), if available.
Moreover, perform CPR immediately and continue until the professional team arrives. Thus, Hands-On CPR may save many lives.
FAQs about Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest
Question 1: What is the link between heart attack and cardiac arrest?
Answer 1: Most of the heart attacks do not lead to cardiac arrest. However, in case of a cardiac arrest, a heart attack is a common cause.
Question 2: What are the differences between heart attack and cardiac arrest in terms of symptoms?
Answer 2: The differences between heart attack and cardiac arrest in terms of symptoms are that during a heart attack a person experience chest pain, shortness of breath, cold sweats, coughing, and wheezing. On the other hand, a person may become unconscious and experience shortness of breath and have no pulse during a cardiac arrest.