How does cardiac arrest differ from a heart attack
- Complete blockage stage of Heart attack is one the causes for cardiac arrest.
- Cardiac arrest due to electrical imbalance in the heart beat that is generated continuously(Heart abruptly begins to beat in an irregular or abnormal rhythm). CA causes less blood flow to peripheral organs.
- Heart attack is due to less or no blood supply to a particular part of heart muscle. In MI heart muscle can’t contribute to heart pump effectively.
Difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack
According to the Heart website, cardiac arrest occurs suddenly without any warning to the body.
Cardiac arrest is usually caused by electrical disturbances in the heart. This disturbances dominates the heartbeat and indicates the occurrence of Cardiac arrest.
It dominates the blood flow to the heart and prevents blood from flowing to the brain, heart and other parts of the body.
People with cardiac arrest lose consciousness in the next few seconds.
If not treated properly at the right time, cardiac arrest can lead to death within seconds or minutes.
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Heart attack medically known as Myocardial Infarction, occurs due to decrease or stoppage of blood supply to a particular part of heart muscle. This leads to dysfunction of that part and causes stopage of Heart pump.
Are deaths due to cardiac arrest unavoidable?
“It’s a tragedy. Usually no one even thinks cardiac arrest will come,” said Saurabh Bansal, a senior physician in the United States. “Cardiac arrest can be said to be the last stage before death. What it means is that the heart stops beating and brings death.”
Causes of cardiac arrest
- Coronary artery disease – reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle due to supply artery blockade by fats, cholesterol and other substances (62 to 70% cases)
- Structural heart disease – due to Heart muscle diseases, disturbances in heart beat, high BP that affects heart, heart failure by losing pump activity(10% cases)
- Inherited arrhythmia syndromes – A condition in which heart beats in abnormal or irregular rhythm(5 to 10% cases)
- Non-cardiac causes – due to trauma, hypovolemic shock [less fluid or blood in body], major bleeding in other organs and blockade of artery in lung(15 to 25% cases)
- Children – shock and respiratory failure is common makes more prone for cardiac arrest
- Risk factors – age, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, lack of physical exercise and family history
Bansal explains, “There are many reasons for cardiac arrest. Usually Heart attack or Coronary artery disease is the major cause among all.”
Symptoms of cardiac arrest
The big problem is that cardiac arrest does not show any symptoms. This is what happens to someone all of a sudden.
Electrical functions in the heart deteriorate and the heart stops beating. The patient undergoes some changes in their body before they die due to cardiac arrest. Those are,
- Patient loses palpable pulse.
- Loss of blood flow to the brain (No cerebral perfusion)
- Loss of consciousness (Fainting and dizziness)and
- Patient stops breathing(Respiratory arrest)
All respiratory arrest is not cardiac arrest. But respiratory arrest with loss of blood circulation all over the body is known as cardiac arrest.
An aspiring medical student from southern India