Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest: Why They’re Not the Same

It's easy to confuse a heart attack with cardiac arrest, since both are serious problems that impact your heart. The key to telling the difference is to consider the cause. Heart attacks are caused by problems with your circulation, while cardiac arrest is an electrical issue. 

Because of this difference, the treatments you need will be different. At Premier Cardiology Consultants, with locations throughout the New York City area, we treat patients experiencing both heart attack and cardiac symptoms.

Heart attack

A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to your heart becomes blocked. The problem is related to your circulatory system, which can prevent oxygen from reaching important parts of your body, including your heart. If oxygen-rich blood doesn't nourish every part of your heart, it can sustain permanent damage. It's important to get treatment right away if you think you might be having a heart attack in order to minimize long-term harm.

The symptoms of a heart attack can intensify over several days. They can include:

Symptoms of heart attacks may present differently for men and women. If you think you're having a heart attack, call for emergency help right away.

Cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest happens when your heart malfunctions electrically. Your heart suddenly stops beating, disrupting the flow of blood to your lungs, brain, and other organs. If you don't get treatment rapidly, you will lose consciousness and can die within minutes. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen after a heart attack, and heart attacks can increase your risk for suffering later cardiac arrests. Other heart problems can also lead to sudden cardiac arrest, including:

Before a cardiac arrest, you might experience signs, including:

You may then lose consciousness as well as your pulse. In case of a cardiac arrest, rapid action will be required. If one is available, someone may be able to use an automated external defibrillator to restart your heart. If multiple people are available to assist, someone should begin CPR right away.

If you have concerns about your heart health, book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Cardiology Consultants today. Our experienced care team will get to the bottom of any heart issues you may have.

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