Health & LIfestyle

Difference between Cardiac arrest and Heart Attack


Cardiac arrests and Heart attacks are often considered to be the same. Although both are fatal and life threatening, it is important to know the differences between the two.

Cardiac arrests are triggered by the electrical malfunctioning in the heart that causes the heart to beat irregularly. Quite often, It occurs due to uninhibited heartbeat, which is called the Ventricular Tachycardia or Ventricular Fibrillation. At other times, it can also occur due to extreme slowing of the heart rate, which ultimately leads to the stopping of the heartbeat.

The underlying reason for a Cardiac arrest include coronary heart disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, valve problems or even an abnormal heartbeat rhythm. Sometimes it can be unrelated to heart diseases too as it can also be caused by electrocution, drug overdose, severe haemorrhage, losing a large amount of blood and drowning.

Symptoms of a cardiac arrest include sudden collapse, lack of pulse, breathing and loss of consciousness. Apart from these other signs also include blackouts, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations, fatigue or vomiting.

Heart attack on the other hand can be one of the many causes of Cardiac arrest and in itself is fatal as well. When it comes to a heart attack, the patient’s heart loses the ability to pump blood only partially and continues with lower efficiency allowing the first hour for medical aid. But during a cardiac arrest, the heart stops functioning owing to issues in the electrical system of the heart that disrupts the pumping ability.

This results in the ceasing of blood flow to the brain and other body parts, hence the person needs medical assistance even before an hour. The early minutes become very decisive in a cardiac arrest that demands quick action and can occur without warning.