Difference Between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest?

Difference Between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest?

We have listed down all the possible differences which will increase your knowledge and keep away from this.
Last Updated: Sep 11, 2019

In general, most people get confused between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest, and they think both are the same. But, both are entirely different, though people frequently use these terms correspondently, to the point, they are not synonyms. The difference between Cardiac Arrest and heart attack is that people get a heart attack when the blood flow is blocked, and the heart does not get enough blood to pump whereas the cardiac Arrest occurs when there is a heart malfunction, and the heartbeat stops suddenly and unexpectedly. In simple words, a Cardiac Arrest considered as an electrical problem, and a heart attack occurs due to a circulation problem.

To understand what the difference between Cardiac Arrest and heart attack is? First, it is essential to know what and how this congestive heart failure happens.

What is a heart attack?

When artery blocks and prevents blood from reaching the heart, then the heart attack occurs. If the artery that is blocked not reopened swiftly, then the blood does not reach the heart, and it eventually dies. The heart needs oxygen-rich blood supply, and the coronary arteries provide this blood to the heart. If there is a blockage in the coronary arteries, then the blockage causes the individual to get a heart attack. If this blockage not removed quickly, then it can cause a portion of the heart muscle to start to die.

Symptoms of congestive heart failure or heart attack may be intense and immediate. Most of the time, the heart attack symptoms start slowly and continue for several hours, and sometimes days or weeks before the individual get the heart attack. During a heart attack, the heart does not usually stop beating suddenly like Cardiac Arrest. Also, the symptoms of a heart attack in women are quite different from men.

What is a heart attack
What is cardiac arrest?
What is cardiac arrest

A cardiac Arrest happens suddenly, and it is different from a heart attack as the Cardiac Arrest comes without warning. It occurs when there is an electrical malfunction occurs in the heart, which further causes arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). The heart disrupted from its pumping action, and it cannot pump blood to the lungs, brain, and other organs in the body. A person can lose consciousness in just seconds and lose pulse as well. The individual can die in minutes if he/she does not get the treatment immediately.

What is the connection?

When it comes to Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack, then you should know that these two are two different heart conditions that are connected. Cardiac Arrest can happen during recovery or after a heart attack. Heart attacks can enhance the risk of Cardiac Arrest, and most heart attacks do not cause Cardiac Arrest. But when Cardiac Arrest happens suddenly, then it occurs because of a heart attack and is considered as a common cause. Sometimes, other heart situations may also disrupt the rhythm of the heart, and it further causes Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The disorders include heart failure, cardiomyopathy (a thickened heart muscle) arrhythmias, long Q-T syndrome, and specific ventricular fibrillation.

If the individual suffering from sudden Cardiac Arrest, then taking quick action can save a life. That is why it is important to know what to do when someone suffering from Cardiac Arrest or heart attack happens.

What to do if it is a Heart Attack:

If you or any of your family member having a heart attack, then call 911 immediately or call any emergency response number that responds in your region. If it is a heart attack, every minute counts and it is advisable to call the emergency medical service right away. The emergency medical service staff will start the treatment when you arrive before an hour or sooner. The EMS (Emergency Medical Service) staff is also trained to stimulate the heart if it stopped working. The individuals with chest pain who come by ambulance usually get quicker treatment at the hospital as well.

What to do if it is a Cardiac Arrest:

Cardiac Arrest is changeable in most cases if it is treated quickly within a few minutes. If someone is suffering from cardiac Arrest, then call 911 immediately and get emergency medical services quickly. If you can able to get an automated external defibrillator, then use it immediately and if you know CPR, start immediately and continue CPR until expert emergency medical services arrive. If two people are there to help, then one should begin to CPR, and the other should call 911 and get an AED if possible.

Cardiac Arrest is one of the major causes of death around 320,000 Cardiac Arrest out-of-hospital occurs yearly in the US. By doing CPR, there can be triple the chances of survival of victim Hands-Only CPR is the best way to revive the heartbeat back if the person has a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Don't get confused between the Cardiac Arrest and heart attack, and if you are confused, then remember you are not alone. These two terms are described often as 'massive' or 'mild,' or sometimes people call them as 'widow maker.' However, whatever the conditions are, they are not helpful at all, and they might create anxiety and confusion.

Dr. James Januzzi says that there is good and bad news entangled with a heart attack. The good news is that many people have survived from a heart attack when they have given the treatment immediately. The bad news is that you should always remember that any heart attack can be dangerous and fatal, and he says, it doesn’t matter how big or small or where it happens in the heart.

The connection between Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack:

Probably the most common cause of uncertainty is the difference between Cardiac Arrest and heart attack. A heart attack that is called MI or Myocardial Infarction by doctors defined as harm to a portion of the heart muscle that occurs due to insufficient blood flow to that portion. This blockage of blood flow happens most of the time due to arteries blockage in the heart. It is known as type-1 heart attack; these blockages occur when there is cholesterol plaque blocked an artery, and the blood clot obstructs the vessel.

Cardiac Arrest is an electrical problem, whereas a heart attack is a blockage problem. Cardiac Arrest occurs when the electrical system in the heart does not work correctly, and it causes the heart to beat chaotically and rapidly or to stop beating entirely. When there is no proper blood circulation to the lungs, brain, and other organs, the individuals stop or gasps, breathing, and it gets passive within a few seconds.

Heart Attack is the usual reason for Cardiac Arrest. However, most heart attacks do not margin to Cardiac Arrest. There are other probable reasons of Cardiac Arrest such as blood clot in the lungs, heart failure, and a serious imbalance of magnesium, potassium, or other resources in the blood, or a blow to the chest, a drug overdose, etc.

Does size matter?

Some heart attacks are more dangerous than others. In some people, during a heart attack, the protein in the blood released by the injured muscle called troponin show some severity. Dr. Januzzi says that an ultrasound of heart called echocardiogram can show the degree of the damage. He says a massive heart attack will considerably lessen the squeezing power of the heart muscle.

The term a ‘widow maker’ is linked to a heart attack that occurs due to blockage on the LAD (Left Anterior Descending) on the top of the artery. It is the main artery that supplies bold to the heart. But, heart attacks that occur due to LAD are not considered fatal compared to other arteries as they can be deadly.

Heart Attack Symptoms include:

- Chest Pain: Many individuals often feel some stiffness in the middle of the chest, this tightness may last for several minutes and the pain will not go down even if they take rest. Though, chest pain is the most standard symptom of heart attack, but not every individual experience chest pain during a heart attack.

- Shortness of breath

- Chest pain spreads to other parts, mostly to the jaw, arms, back, neck, and abdomen

- Wheezing

- Coughing

- Anxiety

- Feeling sick

- Sweating

- Dizziness or light-headedness

- Palpitations

- Weakness

Cardiac Arrest Symptoms include:

- No breathing

- Sudden loss of responsiveness or consciousness

- No pulse – The individual will not have a pulse when the heart stops during a cardiac arrest. This can cause death because the organs of the body don’t get the proper supply of blood.

Before the cardiac arrest, the individual will have the following warning signs that include:

- Shortness of breath

- Chest pain

- Dizziness

- Weakness

- Nausea

- Palpitations

Causes of Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attacks:

It is significant to learn more about the causes of Cardiac Arrest and heart attack, the more you know, the more awareness you will have, and you can make a reliable prediction. People with lower income may not be able to afford the treatment when they suffer from a stroke or heart attack. The study shows that individuals can survive when they have coronary angiography in time.

Cardiac Arrest have several possible causes. These include:

- Ventricular tachycardia

- Ventricular Fibrillation that means an irregular heartbeat where the lower chamber of the heart or ventricles beat irregularly.

- Coronary heart disease

- Pacemaker failure

- Changes in the heart structure

- Choking

- Respiratory arrest

- Drowning

- Hypothermia

- Electrocution

- Drug abuse

- A Sudden drop in blood pressure

- Consumption of excessive alcohol

According to the British Heart Foundation, a cardiac Arrest can also occur due to a heart attack. The majority of patients in the UK are dying due to cardiac Arrest occurring due to heart attacks.