What Is The Difference Between Heart Attack And Cardiac Arrest?

What if we told you that heart attack and cardiac arrest, which are often used interchangeably, are not the same? So, what is the difference between them? Let’s find out.
What Is The Difference Between Heart Attack And Cardiac Arrest?
What Is The Difference Between Heart Attack And Cardiac Arrest?

Medical jargons are perhaps the most confusing ones, so, people from non-medical backgrounds are bound to get confused. One such example is that of heart attack and cardiac arrest. 

Often times, the two are used interchangeably and considered to be synonyms. However, that is not the case. Heart attack and cardiac arrest are two medical procedures that are quite different from each other. 

So, you might be thinking what is the difference between them? 

To understand their difference, we have to first learn what happens in both. 

What happens during a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks happen when blood flow to part of the heart stops. 

This usually happens when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become blocked. When this happens, the supply of blood to the heart is reduced or stopped completely. As a result, the heart muscle begins to die. 

This may also lead to death if proper treatment or medication is not taken. 


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What happens during Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrests occur when the electrical system of the heart fails. The result is that the heart is unable to pump oxygenated blood to the brain, lungs, or other organs when its pumping activity is interfered with. 


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If someone has a cardiac arrest, they lose consciousness and have no pulse. A person having a cardiac arrest is at a higher risk as they can die within minutes unless they receive CPR or other emergency treatment.

What is the difference between a Heart Attack and a Cardiac Arrest?

  • A heart attack happens when a blocked artery prevents blood from reaching a part of the heart, whereas, a cardiac arrest happens when the electrical system of the heart fails. 
  • During a heart attack, the heart muscle is deprived of its essential blood flow, on the other hand, during a cardiac arrest, a person's heart stops circulating blood throughout the body including the brain.
  • Heart attacks increase the risk of cardiac arrest, which is more fatal. This is due to the possibility that someone undergoing a heart attack could develop a risky heart rhythm that could result in cardiac arrest.

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Symptoms of Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest:

Below are the symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Chest pain 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue 
  • Palpitations 

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Below are the symptoms of a cardiac arrest:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • No breath or pulse

Other symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea 

The bottom line is that even though a heart attack and cardiac arrest both involve the heart, they are not the same. A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. On the other hand, cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes it to stop beating unexpectedly. During a heart attack, symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea may be present, while in the case of cardiac arrest, a person may suddenly collapse and become unresponsive with no warning signs or symptoms prior to the incident. 

 Although a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, the two medical emergencies are distinct and should not be confused with one another. While the reasons behind a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are different, both require immediate medical attention. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or cardiac arrest is important, as prompt medical treatment can be lifesaving. 

It is vital to take care of your health. Living a sedentary lifestyle can be fatal, leading to chronic issues such as blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, etc. So, eat a balanced, healthy diet, and work out regularly, at least for 30 minutes, in order to stay fit and healthy. 


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FAQ

Which is better heart attack or cardiac arrest?

Nonr. both heart attack and cardiac arrests are life-threatening situations. when compared, a sudden cardiac arrest is more fatal than a heart attack.

What comes first cardiac arrest or heart attack?

heart attacks increase the risk of cardiac arrest, which is more fatal. sudden cardiac arrests can also occur after a heart attack.

Is a cardiac arrest the same as a heart attack?

no, a cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack happens when a blocked artery prevents blood from reaching a part of the heart, whereas a cardiac arrest happens when the electrical system of the heart fails.
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