Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack: Differences One Must Know

Cardiac Arrest is a phenomenon when the Heart stops to function suddenly without any presumptive symptom thereby stopping any blood flow to the brain and other organs of the body. This a precarious situation where the body responds differently as compared to a Heart attack. Our Heart has an electric system which helps in keeping the heartbeat going. So, when due to any reason, the electric signals do not work well, it causes an erratic heartbeat or says arrhythmia.  This can further lead to a Cardiac Arrest. There are various types of Arrhythmia and all of them are not dangerous by nature. One of the types is Ventricular Fibrillation which can trigger a cardiac arrest. Due to this, the heart has the problem in pumping blood for the body. This can become a life-threatening effort in minutes.

Possible Difference Between a Heart Attack and a Cardiac Arrest

Though a heart attack might lead to Cardiac Arrest, both these are different in nature. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to Heart gets completely blocked due to the development of Plaques in the Coronary Artery. The Cardiac Arrest, on the other hand, occurs when the Heart stops to pump blood into the arteries. While a person with a heart attack might show some problems with breathing, persons with Cardiac Arrest will have trouble only in breathing and will become unconscious after some time.

Also, Cardiac Arrest is different than that of a Heart Failure. In case of the latter, the heart gets weaker until it can’t pump enough blood for brain and other organs of the body. This situation makes the entire body weak over a period and can be corrected through a heart transplant only.

What can be the possible reasons for Cardiac Arrest?

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As mentioned earlier, Arrhythmia can be a dangerous reason to trigger a cardiac arrest. But are there other reasons too to trigger such a cardiac arrest? Yes, there are some other reasons as well –

The risk of Cardiac Arrest can become high if you are a man given the emotional output which can trigger Arrhythmia. If the person is already carrying Coronary Heart Disease. This is the biggest reason for such cardiac arrests.

  • Have history of drug abuse or smoke or alcohol or substance use
  • If there are the previous history of one or more heart attacks.
  • If the person has diabetes, high blood pressure or heart failure.
  • An obese person also has a risk of having a cardiac arrest.
  • Genetic reasons can also trigger cardiac arrest
  • Major blood loss or severe lack of oxygen
  • Intense exercise with a history of heart disease
  • Too high levels of potassium or magnesium enough to propel arrhythmia
  • Infection

Some General Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

The symptoms of Cardiac arrest cannot be majorly differentiated with that of a heart attack. Sometimes, a cardiac arrest can also happen with no warning at all. However, the symptoms include:

  • Collapse, lose consciousness due to stoppage of blood flow to brain
  • No pulse and no breathing leading to collapse
  • Tiredness, dizziness, weakness, breathing problems, stomach ache or severe back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Some of the symptoms of Heart Attack

Cardiac Arrest Treatment

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If you have had a cardiac arrest, the patient will require having a quick treatment with the help of a heart defibrillator, a machine which can revive the heart by sending an electric signal to it. the shock given by the machine may have the capability of bringing the heart back into action. The course of action should be swift, and any medical assistance must be called within minutes of cardiac arrest or the person might die altogether. In case the medical assistance is taking time, some places also have a model of the defibrillator called the AED.

AED is simple and convenient to use at a time when someone needs it. you just must follow the instruction given on the machine to revive the heart. This device has the capability to revive the heart using the shock therapy to send a signal to the heart. Even if the heart has been revived, there is a possibility of repeated cardiac arrest as well. So, call 911 and wait for medical assistance. The doctors, to completely rectify the problem, might write some tests which must be completed like –

  • EKG (Electrocardiogram) – to read Heart’s electrical activities
  • Echocardiogram- to check Heart’s size, shape, and its work functions
  • Cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)- to make a detailed picture of Heart at work
  • MUGA (Multiple Gated Acquisition) – to help special cameras take pictures of Heart. 

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