Cardiac Arrest And Heart Attack, Not The Same


Cardiac arrest and heart attack, both disorders related to the heart are different from each other with different symptoms, risk factors, treatments and outcomes. Not many know about this difference.

While both cause serious health conditions and at times, also be turn fatal, heart attacks usually have previous signs and symptoms while cardiac arrest does not. Cardiac arrest is an ‘electrical’ problem while heart attack is due to interrupted blood flow. To know more about the two and stay alert it will be helpful learning its risk factors and treatments.

Cardiac arrestheart attack 1

Cardiac arrest or cardiopulmonary arrest or circulatory arrest is a sudden stop in effective blood circulation due to the failure of the heart to contract effectively or at all. It is also referred to as Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). SCA may possibly lead to death. A survey shows that, about 3 million people die annually due to SCA, which is far more than deaths caused by breast cancer, lung cancer or even AIDS. The overall chance of a survival of a person having cardiac arrest outside hospital is 7.6%. SCA is usually caused when the heart’s electrical system fails to pump blood to the body and the heart stops beating. In this case it becomes necessary to ‘turn on’ the heart immediately using electric shock else it may lead to the patient’s death.

Symptomsheart attack 2

SCA does not show any signs or symptoms or their symptoms are sudden and drastic. These immediate symptoms usually include sudden collapsing, no pulse, no breathing and loss of consciousness.

Risk factors

  • 75% of SCA are linked to a previous heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Having a family history of SCA may even put the younger population at risk
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiac failure
Also Read: How Does Aspirin Prevent Stroke

Heart attack

Heart attack or medically known as Myocardial infarction is caused when the flow of oxygen rich blood is interrupted, stopping blood from reaching certain parts of the heart, further damaging the heart muscle. This may be due to a blockage in one or more of the arteries to the heart. Heart attacks are often caused as a result of coronary artery disease (CAD) which might be caused as a result of plaque build up in the arteries, which blocks blood flow and increases the risk for heart attack. A heart attack may also trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to SCA.

Symptomsheart attack symptoms

Heart attack symptoms are not always obvious, but they may be severe. The basic symptoms of heart attack include chest pain or burning sensation in the chest, which may reach arms or back later, dizziness, shortage of breath, severe sweating.

Risk factors

  • Age is a factor, people who are 65 years old or older are at more risk of having a heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High serum cholesterol
  • Family history of coronary disease, again, is a determining factor for heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Stress and obesity

Preventing such health issues

Even though different heart disorders, both of them can be prevented up to an extent by keeping a healthy lifestyle. Include healthier foods – whole grains, low fat proteins, more veggies and fruits and also control sodium intake. Also adjust portions of food you eat. Regular exercise will also help you keep a healthy heart.



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