Is a Heart Attack the Same as a Cardiac Arrest?

Many people tend to think that the terms cardiac arrest and heart attack are the same thing. This couldn’t be further from the truth, let’s take a closer look at the difference between these two medical emergencies.

Heart Attack

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart become blocked or clogged. When this blockage occurs it prevents the heart from receiving its much-needed supply of oxygenated blood. When this happens that portion of the heart muscle that loses its blood supply will die.

Heart attacks occur due to a build up plaque in one of the coronary arteries. The plaque will eventually rupture and when it does rupture it will block the heart muscle from receiving its blood supply.

A person suffering from a heart attack will experience ∫ along with shortness of breath and various other symptoms. These symptoms can include a feeling of nausea, pressure in the chest, pain or pressure in the neck and jaw, sweating, and pain or pressure in one or both arms, usually the left arm.

Patients who are suffering from a heart attack are at risk of going into cardiac arrest.

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping blood. A cardiac arrest will occur when there is a sudden change in the heart’s rhythm. The most common heart rhythm that causes cardiac arrest is known as ventricular fibrillation.

When a patient goes into ventricular fibrillation the heart begins to beat erratically. The electrical signals of the heart become completely chaotic. Due to the fact that there is timing or organization of the electrical activity of the heart, the heart just stops beating.

Timing is key when dealing with cardiac arrest, CPR needs to performed immediately and a defibrillator used as soon as possible.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid & CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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1 Response

  1. Moana says:

    Informative very true about Heart vs Cardiac arrest.

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