Health: Here's the difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack

Updated: Dec 07, 2016, 15:38 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa suffered a cardiac arrest late on Sunday evening and passed away on Monday night. Well, for many cardiac arrest and heart attack are the same, but they actually aren't. Here are some points that will clear the air about the two cardiovascular disorders

heart attack vs cardiac arrest

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa suffered a cardiac arrest late on Sunday evening and is being treated at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital.

Heart attack and cardiac arrest and are two different terms that people often mistake as being the same disease of the cardiovascular system. Well, cardiac arrest and heart attack are two completely different heart conditions with different and varying symptoms. Unfortunately, both can turn out to be fatal if not diagnosed and treated on time.

Here are some points that will help you differentiate between cardiac arrest and heart attack.

What is cardiac arrest and what is heart attack?
Cardiac arrest takes place when the heart starts to malfunction, which in turn leads to irregular heartbeat. Cardiac arrest is basically termed as an ‘electrical’ problem. On the contrary, heart attack happens when the blood flow to the heart gets blocked. The blockage is generally caused by blood clot. Heart attack is basically termed as a ‘circulation problem’.

What are the symptoms of cardiac arrest and symptoms of heart attack?
Symptoms of cardiac arrest include sudden loss of consciousness, no breathing and no pulse.
Symptoms of heart attack include chest pain, coughing, anxiety, dizziness, vomiting, sweating, weakness, unnoticeable heartbeats and spread of chest pain to other body parts.

What happens in case of cardiac arrest and heart attack?
In case of cardiac arrest, the person may die within few minutes if he does not receive proper treatment. In case of heart attack, the longer the person stays without treatment, the higher is the change of damage.

What to do in case of cardiac arrest and heart attack?
In case of cardiac arrest, first thing that needs to be done is to call for emergency medical services. CPR should be started immediately and should continue until professional emergency medical services arrive. If two people are there, one should start CPR while the other should call for emergency medical services. If one is not sure if it is a heart attack, then also one needs to call for emergency medical services. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance generally receive quick treatments as compared to others.

Though cardiac arrest and heart attack are two different heart disorders, yet these are linked to some extent. A heart attack can cause a cardiac arrest but a cardiac arrest cannot cause a heart attack. A patient with a heart attack is at a higher risk of developing cardiac arrest. As both the disorders are life threatening, both of these require emergency treatment and proper extensive medical care.

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