Monday, September 5, 2016

What is the difference between a heart attack and Cardiac Arrest?

I recently visited a friend in the hospital who is recovering from a recent heart attack. Thankfully he is doing well and expected to make a full recovery. We were having a discussion on what happened and we started bouncing back between the terms heart attack and cardiac arrest  the attending doctor gave us a look and asked us if we knew the difference between the two terms although I am certified as a health care provider I really never gave it much thought.  So what is the difference between the two terms? Again the information I provide here is for information only this is no way replaces a doctors advise.

When talking about cardiac arrest or heart attack most people use the terms interchangeably but in the medical profession there is a distinct difference. The treatment and prevention measures are the same but the affect the heart differently

What is cardiac arrest?

A cardiac arrest is activated by an electrical malfunction. The heart beats in a certain manner or order to pump blood throughout the body. When this order has been changed for whatever reason it causes an irregular heartbeat.  So blood is not pumped throughout the body appropriately.  When a person suffers a cardiac arrest the person will be unresponsive may not be breathing or gasping for air.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is cause by a blockage in one of the arteries. The blood is not flowing to the heart properly should this occur for a prolonged period of time the sections of the heart begin to die off. The symptoms are different then cardiac arrest; the person will feel discomfort in the chest. They will feel like someone is kneeing on their cheat it may radiate to one side of the chest. The symptoms may accompany shortness of breath, vomiting and sweats.

When a person is having either a heart attack or goes into cardiac arrest you must contact 911 immediately.

I hope this post was helpful as always please leave a comment

Mark Carvajal 

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