What Is The Difference Between A Cardiac Arrest And A Heart Attack?

Question: What is the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack?

Answer: There's an important difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest is a sudden collapse in an individual who is non-responsive, who has abnormal breathing. Abnormal breathing is either agonal respiration, or gasping, or not breathing at all. In that situation, the most important thing is to call 9-1-1, and start doing continuous chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

A heart attack is when the arteries supplying the heart get blocked up. Even though the heart is full of blood at all times, and pumps a hundred-thousand times each day, it doesn't get any of the blood it needs from the inside.

But the first branches off of the aorta, which is the first big vessel off of the heart, the first branches off of there are coronary arteries, and they sit on top of the heart like a crown; they're called coronary arteries. And if you block one of those, that means that that heart, in that area, doesn't get enough blood -- and that causes a 'myocardial infarction,' which is the technical term for a heart attack. A heart attack is quite different from a cardiac arrest.

Next: What Are The Most Common Risk Factors For Heart Disease?


Previous: If I Have A Heart Attack Does That Mean I Have Heart Failure Or That I Will Get Heart Failure?
-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4222711. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4222711. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4222711.
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Patrick Crawford is pictured in this photo from his Facebook page.
Meteorologist Patrick Crawford KCEN/Facebook
Kate Middleton Learns Sign Language
Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: George Stinney Jr., the youngest person ever executed in South Carolina, in 1944, is seen in this undated file photo.
South Carolina Department of Archives and History/AP Photo
PHOTO: Johns Hopkins University sent nearly 300 acceptance emails to students who had actually been denied.
Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun/Getty Images