World Heart Day 2021: Difference Between Sudden Cardiac Arrest And Heart Attack

To honor World Heart Day 2021, here are some things about the difference between sudden cardiac arrest and heart attack.

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahPublished at: Sep 29, 2021
World Heart Day 2021: Difference Between Sudden Cardiac Arrest And Heart Attack

Heart attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest are terms that are often interchanged. Both heart conditions are life-threatening, however, both the heart diseases are different that require precautions and treatments accordingly. World Heart Day is celebrated every year on September 29 to spread awareness about cardiovascular diseases globally. On the occasion of World Heart Day 2021, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Rahul Chhabria, Senior Consultant of Cardiology at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, about the difference between sudden cardiac arrest and heart attack. 

What is a heart attack?

heart attack

When a clogged artery stops oxygen-rich blood from reaching a portion of the heart, a heart attack ensues. The region of the heart that is regularly nourished by an artery begins to perish if the blocked artery is not restored immediately. The longer a person goes without therapy, the more serious the consequences become. A heart attack can have immediate and severe symptoms. Symptoms usually begin slowly and last for hours, days, or weeks after a heart attack. Unlike sudden cardiac arrest, a heart attack normally does not cause the heart to cease beating. Not everyone experiences the same signs and symptoms. About a third of patients experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or fatigue during a heart attack.

What is a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

cardiac arrest

Also Read: The Need to Address Rising Cases Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest In COVID Patients With Prevention Tips From Expert 

The heart stops beating completely in cardiac arrest. While a heart attack is caused by a disruption in the heart's blood circulation, cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical issue. A heart attack is a common cause of cardiac arrest. Because the heart stops pumping blood to the brain, lungs, and other organs, they are deprived of the blood and oxygen they require. If left untreated, cardiac arrest can result in death within minutes. Dizziness, loss of consciousness, and shortness of breath are all symptoms of cardiac arrest. A person will become unresponsive and have difficulty breathing within seconds of cardiac arrest.

What is the connection?

There is a link between these two different heart conditions. After a heart attack or during recovery, sudden cardiac arrest can occur. Heart attacks raise the risks of having a sudden cardiac arrest. Most heart attacks do not result in cardiac arrest. However, heart attack is a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest. Other heart problems can also cause the heart's rhythm to be disrupted, resulting in sudden cardiac arrest. A thickening heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), heart failure, arrhythmias, especially ventricular fibrillation, and protracted Q-T syndrome are among them.

How To Tackle A Heart Attack?

Also Read: 4 Exercises To Burn Chest Fat To Reduce Risk of Heart Attack

CALL for HELP to nearest hospital or an cardiac ambulance which is equipped with medical team. Staff from emergency medical services are also trained to revive a person whose heart has stopped beating. 

What to do if you have a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Most patients of cardiac arrest can be revived if they are treated quickly. To begin, call for immediate medical assistance. Then, get an automatic external defibrillator if available and utilize it as soon as it arrives. Keep CPR going until emergency medical services arrive. If two individuals are available to assist, one should start CPR at once while the other calls for help and locates an AED. 

How To Prevent Heart Attack And Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

A good start is to develop heart-healthy habits. Talk to your doctor about ways to lower your blood pressure, quit smoking, control diabetes, remain active, and eat a heart-healthy diet to help prevent heart attacks or SCA. If you have a heart ailment or have had a history of heart attack, your doctor will discuss preventive care alternatives with you. These may include the following:


1. Medication: To decrease cholesterol, prevent future heart attacks, control blood pressure, or prevent blood clots may be recommended by your doctor.

2. Ablation: Heart attacks can impair the electrical conduction system by causing damage to the heart muscle. Ablation, which involves the burning or freezing of heart tissue, can be used to fix faulty electrical circuits.

3. Surgical procedures: If you have a genetic disease that puts you at risk for electrical heart problems, a surgical procedure may be recommended.

4. Stents: Scaffold-like devices that open blocked coronary arteries and enhance blood flow, reducing the risk of future heart attacks. The most important preventive care is talking about your symptoms, if you feel it, say it.