Cardiac arrest vs. heart attack: Is there a difference?

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Although both are life-threatening, one is much more severe and requires immediate attention for survival. (KFSN)

Cardiac arrest and heart attack are often used interchangeably, but are not the same thing. Although both are life-threatening, one is much more severe and requires immediate attention for survival.

See if you know the difference: does the following sentence describe a heart attack or cardiac arrest?

A blockage or 100 percent blockage of an artery.

If you guessed heart attack, you are correct. And cardiac arrest is...

"Primarily just a heart that goes into a bad rhythm or a heart that just stops beating." According to Rajesh Shah, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Florida Hospital in Orlando, FL.

They even look different to bystanders. During cardiac arrest, there will be no pulse and no breathing. The link between the two? Heart attack is a common cause of cardiac arrest.

What to do for a heart attack? Call 9-1-1 immediately and they can begin proper treatment when they arrive, whether that's opening the arteries and placing a stent or providing the patient with medication.

What to do for a cardiac arrest? Call 9-1-1 immediately then get an automatic external defibrillator if one is available, but be sure to have someone begin hands-only c-p-r straightaway. Sing the tune "Staying Alive" and pump your hands to the beat.

The risk of death in cardiac arrest is much higher than in a heart attack, so act fast.

Cardiac arrest is a major leading cause of death with a survival rate of ten-point-six percent. Research shows 320,000 out-of-hospital arrests occur each year in the u-s and one out of every three victims survives when witnessed by a bystander who begins CPR immediately.

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