Difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest
Heart attack vs cardiac arrest:
Differentiating a heart attack prom a cardiac arrest can be quite confusing as they both often portray similar kinds of symptoms in individuals. They both occur in the heart and yet, an angina and a heart attack are not by any means, the same. It is considered as highly dangerous to consider the two as one because both are fatal conditions that may result in death if left untreated.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack or an Acute Myocardial infarction is a serious issue that can indeed be deadly. This occurs because of lasting and sudden obstruction of circulation of blood into the heart that causes harm to the heart muscles and also causes cardiac muscle tissue death. The obstruction of the circulation of blood can occur due to rupture of a plaque in the artery, a condition otherwise known as atherosclerosis which arises as a result of blood clots in the arteries or due to the blockage of arteries which is a direct result of cholesterol.
What is cardiac arrest?
Also known as cardiopulmonary arrest or circulatory arrest, a cardiac arrest is usually caused by sudden heart arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation when the electrical signals within the heart suddenly become confused and as a result, the heart stops beating completely. These electrical signals track down and control the timing and the organization of the heartbeat and therefore when the signals become confused, the heart suddenly stops beating thus resulting in sudden death. Causes for cardiac arrest are many. While a prior heart attack or heart failure may eventually lead way to a cardiac arrest, inherited heart abnormalities that tend to increase the risk of ventricular fibrillation has also been found to be a major issue that leads to cardiac arrest. Another factor that contributes towards cardiac arrest is the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine which can prove to be one of the main agents that trigger heart abnormalities. It has been estimated that cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 300,000 people each year.
What is the difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack?
It might sometimes be extremely hard to distinguish between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest as both these conditions portray similar characteristics which are sometimes confused with one another. The suddenness of the two conditions and their fatality rate is somewhat similar as well, adding more confusion to the already confused similarities of the two conditions. However, the main difference between the two condition may be the fact that during a cardiac arrest, the blood flow to the heart muscle is completely cut off whereas during a heart attack, the blood flow is only partially impaired, still allowing some circulation of blood.
A heart attack occurs due to a blockage of the coronary artery, thus robbing the heart muscle of a portion of its vital blood supply. This in turn leads to the death of a part of the heart muscle which is otherwise known as a heart attack. A cardiac arrest on the other hand occurs due to sudden heart arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation during which the electrical signals within the heart become chaotic as a result of which the heart stops beating, resulting in the cutting off of blood supply to the brain and other parts of the body. Both heart attack and cardiac arrest can be fatal if left untreated. Therefore, it is imperative to get treatment and lead healthy lifestyles in order to avoid these risks.
A heart attack can vary in its severity as heart attacks are often categorized under two sections as mild heart attacks and severe heart attacks. A cardiac arrest however, is rather sudden where the heart ceases abruptly, without warning when the heart can no longer pump blood to the rest of the body. There are no symptoms to a cardiac arrest most of the time. A heart attack on the other hand displays plenty of symptoms. Chest pain, radiating pain in left arm, between shoulder blades, and/or jaw, difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea and vomiting and sweating are some of the more common symptoms of a heart attack at the outset of which the patient can obtain the proper medical attention, reducing the risk. Therefore, the death rate with regards to heart attacks is relatively low when compared to the 90% death rate of cardiac arrests. It must also be mentioned that a heart attack may eventually develop in to a cardiac arrest if proper precautions are not taken with regards to the imminent risks posed by such a condition.
Tags: acute myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, asystole, cardiac arrest, cardiac infarction, cardiopulmonary arrest, cardiovascular disease, chestpains, congestive heart failure, coronary, coronary infarction, coronary thrombosis, myocardial infarction, tachycardia