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Difference Between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

Heart Attack vs Cardiac Arrest

The heart is the major life source of man. It supplies the brain with oxygen that enables it to send signals to other parts of the body. Once the heart is damaged, all other bodily functions are affected.

It is very important that any heart problems be diagnosed and treated early to prevent the heart from getting damaged which can lead to a heart attack and eventually to a cardiac arrest.

Heart Attack

A heart attack is caused by the heart�s circulation problem. It happens when one or more arteries that deliver blood to the heart are blocked depriving it of oxygen and damaging the muscles of the heart. The damage will cause the rhythm of the heart to go dangerously fast causing the system to malfunction and lead to a sudden cardiac arrest.

There are many causes that can block the arteries of the heart, and plaque buildup is one of the major causes. The process is slow and takes a long time. In time, it can produce permanent damage to the heart�s muscles causing it not to function properly.

Heart attack is on of the leading causes of death but if treated within an hour of experiencing its symptoms, survival chances are higher. Heart attacks can occur without prior symptoms but most come with visible signs.

Signs of a heart attack include feelings of discomfort, pressure, and pain in the chest; headache or toothache with pain in the jaw and down the arms; heartburn, shortness of breath, sweating, lightheadedness, and nausea.

Cardiac Arrest

A cardiac arrest is caused by the rapid irregular rhythm of the heart�s ventricles making them quiver instead of contracting which is the normal way. This in turn causes the heart to become unable to supply the brain with oxygen making the person lose his consciousness and pulse.

If not immediately subjected to cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR and defibrillation, the person suffering from cardiac arrest can die. The loss of oxygen supply to the brain can cause brain damage. It is therefore very important that a person suffering from cardiac arrest be resuscitated within five minutes to prevent brain damage.

The causes of cardiac arrest vary; the heart can stop beating as a result of drug overdose, heart diseases, and any abnormalities in the heart. There is no warning when cardiac arrest strikes. The person will immediately collapse and lose consciousness, his pulse and breathing.
Heart problems can be treated with drugs to dissolve blood clots, and surgery to improve blood flow to the heart. Patients must also watch their diet and activities, making sure that they eat only healthy food and get enough exercise to make them strong.


1. A heart attack is caused by the blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the heart while a cardiac arrest can be caused by heart problems and abnormalities or drug overdose.
2. A heart attack can be easily treated within an hour of its onset while a cardiac arrest must be treated within a few minutes or the patient will die.
3. A heart attack suppresses the blood flow to the brain which can lead to cardiac arrest.
4. Although both have the same treatment, a person suffering from a heart attack is easier to treat than a person suffering from a cardiac arrest.

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