Difference Between Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack

Posted On Oct 27, 2022

Dr. Maneesh Rai

Consultant - Cardiac Electrophysiologist


Cardiology hospital in Mangalore

There is common confusion regarding the perspective of cardiac arrest and heart attack when surveyed among the population. Since both of them are heart-related medical emergencies, which are widespread, it is easy to get confused. These words are frequently used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. A disruption in the blood supply to the heart causes a heart attack. Cardiac arrest, in which the heart stops beating, could result.

Heart failure is different from heart failure, cardiac arrest, and heart attacks. They are three distinct issues showing differences in root causes and solutions. It is first important to understand what occurs in both of these processes in order to distinguish between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. To know more about the difference, visit our cardiology hospital in Mangalore.

What is a heart attack?

A myocardial infarction, often known as a heart attack, happens when the blood supply that oxygenates the heart muscle is insufficient. It frequently happens as a result of a blockage caused by a clot in the coronary arteries that supply the heart. If the obstruction is not removed right away, the heart muscle starts to deteriorate or perhaps begins to die. A troponin test can be used to identify sudden heart damage.

A heart attack can be fatal and may cause severe damage to the heart. Coronary artery disease (CAD), in which fatty deposits called atheroma build up on the arterial walls, is the most frequent cause of heart attacks. A clot can form around an atheroma fragment that breaks off, obstructing blood flow.

Symptoms of Heart Attack

The symptoms of a heart attack differ from person to person. While some people exhibit symptoms or warning signs, others do not. The following are heart attack symptoms that people may experience:

  • Chest pain in the central region; it spreads to the arms, jaw, neck, back, and abdomen.

  • Pain in the upper body region.

  • Fatigue

  • Feeling lightheaded

  • Sweating

  • Trouble breathing

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Coughing and wheezing

  • Palpitations

Causes of Heart Attack

Heart attacks occur due to coronary heart disease, a condition brought on by plaques formed when fat and cholesterol accumulate in the coronary arteries. People with CHD may have a heart attack if a plaque ruptures and creates a blood clot that plugs the coronary artery. The risk of coronary heart disease may be impacted by risk factors like smoking, poor eating habits, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension, resulting in a heart attack.

What is cardiac arrest?

Typically, cardiac arrests occur suddenly and without prior notice. It is not the same as a heart attack. The heart actually stops beating during a cardiac arrest.

After experiencing a cardiac arrest, a person may suffer lasting brain and organ damage or disability if they do not receive prompt medical attention. It might even prove lethal. The risk increases if blood flow and cardiac rhythm are delayed for a longer period of time. Cardiac arrest is frequently a temporary condition observed during a medical emergency. The brain, lungs, and other organs do not receive the blood and oxygen they require because cardiac arrest prevents the heart from pumping. If not treated, cardiac arrest can result in death in just a few minutes.

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

There are typically few to no warning indications. More than half of those who have cardiac arrest don't exhibit any symptoms. Others might exhibit the following signs:

  • Sudden loss of consciousness

  • Blue discoloration of the face

  • No breathing rate

  • No pulse rate

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness

  • Heart palpitations

  • Nausea

Consult with our cardiologist in Mangalore if you are experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms.

Causes of Cardiac Arrest

Some of the major causes of cardiac arrest include ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, coronary heart disease, structural changes to the heart, respiratory arrest, pacemaker failure, choking, drowning, electrocution, hypothermia, sharp drops in blood pressure, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug abuse. Cardiac arrest can also result from a heart attack. During a heart attack, if enough of the heart is damaged, the heart may cease beating, which can result in cardiac arrest.

A heart attack and a cardiac arrest are two distinct medical conditions. A cardiac arrest happens when the entire heart stops beating, as opposed to a heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to a portion of the heart is cut off. The signs of a heart attack can vary. The primary signs of a cardiac arrest, in contrast, are unconsciousness, the absence of breathing, and no pulse. Finally, there are numerous distinct causes of cardiac arrest, whereas coronary heart disease is the primary factor in heart attacks.

Dr. Maneesh Rai

Consultant - Electrophysiologist

KMC Hospital, Mangalore

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