Difference between Cardiac Arrest & Heart Attack

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 02, 2012

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Difference between Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack

When the blood supply to the heart muscle gets constricted due to blockage in the arteries, it is called a heart attack. This problem is generally linked to unhealthy lifestyle choices and ageing. It is different from a cardiac arrest in which can occur in a young and healthy heart when it goes into an abnormal rhythm that is dangerous, and is unable to pump blood throughout the body.

According to Sanjay Sharma, professor of cardiology at St George's Hospital in south London who has screened more than 20000 athletes since 1994, seventy percent of the heart conditions that lead to sudden death syndrome (SDS) can be picked up by electrocardiogram and echo-cardiogram.

Heart attacks are caused by rupture of a plaque in the artery leading to blockage of the coronary artery. This can create several clinical conditions, one of which is a heart attack. Unstable angina is another condition that can result from it and together they have been put under the category of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). All types of ACS are medical emergencies and the patient is in need of immediate treatment.


[Read: 7 Ways to Never Have a Heart Attack]


The treatment for a heart attack involves medications, angioplasty, stenting or surgery for restoring the normal blood flow to the blocked artery. If blood flow is restored within a few hours, the situation can come under control as permanent damage to the heart muscles can be prevented or minimised.


[Read: Preventing Winter Heart Attacks]


A cardiac arrest is caused by what is termed ventricular fibrillation. When this occurs, the electrical signals inside the heart become very chaotic. These signals are responsible for maintaining proper heart beat and its timing. It is very important that expert help is close at hand when a cardiac arrest occurs because death is quite instant. Most people suffering a cardiac arrest are not able to survive.

Cardiac arrest tends to be more common in people who have an underlying heart condition. In many cases it is a case of previous heart attack that brings about the cardiac arrest or a condition that brings about heart failure. Some other causes of cardiac arrest include inherent abnormalities that increase the risk of ventricular fibrillation, a disorder known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and increased use of illicit drugs such as cocaine.

In order to safeguard yourself from a cardiac arrest, you need to be especially conscious when if your close relative has expired. Consult with your doctor and get an examination done for knowing your chances.


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