Has the debate of cardiac arrest vs heart attack been brewing in your mind off late? Well then, given below is an article that details cardiac arrest and heart attack facts which will help drive away any kind of confusion you may have related to these two conditions…
Heart diseases and conditions is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. These conditions that affect the heart can range from arrhythmias to circulatory system diseases. However, two of the most fatal conditions that can affect the heart is a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. These words are often wrongly used interchangeably, although there is a slight difference between the two. Before going on to the various differences that outline cardiac arrest vs heart attack, let us take a look at what is a cardiac arrest and what is a heart attack.
What is a Cardiac Arrest?
A cardiac arrest is a sudden condition where the heart stops functioning altogether. The chambers of the heart do not contract due to which blood does not reach the other various parts of the body. Arrested blood circulation prevents delivery of oxygen to different parts of the body. Lack of oxygen to the brain causes loss of consciousness which results in abnormal breathing, that may lead to complete cessation of breathing and irreversible brain injury. Sudden cardiac arrest causes include hypovolemia, hyperkalemia, hypothermia, severe hypoglycemia, toxins, thrombosis, trauma, etc. All of these eventually lead to cutting of the electrical signals in the heart, which stops its functioning. Sometimes, there may even be mechanical problems which could spur on an abnormal electrical signal in a series, leading to cessation of beating of the heart. Severe hemorrhage can also lead to a cardiac arrest.
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack is a condition where there is an interruption of blood supply due to blockage of coronary arteries. This blockage may be complete or partial, and may affect one coronary artery, or more than one artery. This kind of interruption of blood supply leads to death of that part of the heart muscle. This condition usually leads to severe symptoms like crushing chest pain, difficulty in breathing, severe anxiety, etc. This interruption in blood supply is generally caused due to a blood clot in the coronary artery and so, the treatment for a heart attack will usually involve taking measures to get rid of this clot.
Difference Between a Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack
As you may have realized while reading this article, there are many differences between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack. One of the causes of cardiac arrest is hypoxia and severe deficiency of oxygen reaching the heart muscles, due to which they cease to function. Hence, a heart attack may or may not be a precursor to a cardiac arrest. One more point to note in the cardiac arrest vs heart attack debate is that the treatment for both these conditions varies. When a person goes into a cardiac arrest, then the immediate treatment to give is to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This is an attempt to help the heart pump blood again. However, the cure and treatment of a heart attack entails treating the underlying cause. The person needs to be taken to the hospital immediately where he will be treated for the exact underlying cause that is behind the heart attack, like, he will be given blood thinners if he has a clot.
This was all about the details regarding a cardiac arrest and a heart attack. These two conditions may or may not be related to each other because as mentioned above, a heart attack may or may not precede a cardiac arrest. However, both these conditions are the two most serious conditions that can affect the heart, hence, one should always be informed about what to do in case a person suffers from a cardiac arrest or a heart attack.