Both cases are considered medical emergencies and need immediate assistance; however, they have some distinct characteristics.
Cardiovascular diseases account for more than 400,000 annual deaths. Many of them are victims of two conditions with similar names, something in common, but have different origins: cardiac arrest and heart attack.
Cardiac arrest is an “electrical” failure in the heart and, as its name implies, causes it to stop beating unexpectedly. This condition is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the organ that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Cardiac function is compromised, and the heart may not pump blood to essential parts of the body, such as the brain and lungs. A cardiac arrest victim passes out and does not respond to stimuli, may stop breathing (cardiopulmonary arrest), or become breathless. Blood pressure drops sharply. Brain damage is likely if the cardiac arrest lasts longer than 5 minutes and death if the cardiac arrest lasts longer than 8 minutes, notes the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Treatment.
Cardiac arrest treated by a cardiologist such as cardiocare cardiologist for example can be reversible in some people if treatment is given within a few minutes. The first step is to call an ambulance. Then begins the procedure called CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) — maneuvers performed with the hands to “force” the heart to resume pumping blood. A defibrillator (equipment that delivers shocks) can be used in public places where such devices are available.
The origin of the heart attack is another. It is a circulatory problem in people with arteriosclerosis (buildup of cholesterol plaques on the walls of the arteries). This blocked artery will prevent part of the heart from receiving blood and consequently oxygen, causing tissue death in a few minutes or even the patient’s death.
Unlike cardiac arrest, a heart attack, also called, is accompanied by symptoms. The classic signs are discomfort and pain in the chest, which radiates to the jaw, and arms, shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea, and mental confusion. “Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, call your local 911. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance often receive faster treatment at the hospital.”
What’s In Common?
A heart attack can result in cardiac arrest. This runs due to arrhythmias. Patients who have had heart damage from previous heart attacks are also likely to experience cardiac arrest.
How does cardiac arrest evolve?
If it cannot be quickly reversed, cardiac arrest leads to death within 8 to 10 minutes.
How To Prevent Cardiac Arrest?
To reduce the chance of suffering a cardiac arrest, the individual must take heart medications regularly if they need to use any of them to have a healthy lifestyle and avoid stress.
What are the possible complications of cardiac arrest?
If reversed in the short term, cardiac arrest may not leave sequelae. If it lasts longer, it will leave neurological sequelae or even cause death.