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Cardiac Arrest VS. Heart Attack

Cardiac Arrest VS. Heart Attack

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and unexpectedly stops beating.  It’s triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat, known as arrhythmia.  With the pumping action being disrupted, the heard cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs, and other important organs.  A Heart Attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, and is known as a circulation problem. 

A blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart.  If that blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart that is regularly nourished by that artery begins to shut down and die.

What Happens During Cardiac Arrest And A Heart Attack

During cardiac arrest, the person quickly becomes unresponsive, while not breathing or gasping for oxygen.  The victim can die in minutes, if proper treatment isn’t received.  On the other hand, symptoms of a heart attack could be immediate and cause intense discomfort in the chest, and other areas of the upper body.  More often, though, symptoms begin slowly and persist for hours, days, or even weeks before the heart attack occurs.  Unlike going into cardiac arrest, the heart typically doesn’t stop beating during a heart attack.  But similarly, the longer the victim goes without treatment, the greater the damage.

What to Do During Cardiac Arrest And A Heart Attack

If someone you know is going into cardiac arrest, keep in mind that if treated within a few minutes it can be reversible.  Stay calm and call 9-1-1 and then start CPR right away.  If an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it as soon as possible as you wait for emergency personnel to arrive.  If someone you know if having a heart attack or heart attack-like symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.  Emergency personnel can begin treatment as soon as they arrive, and patients with chest pain arriving to the hospital in an ambulance are more likely to receive faster treatment.


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