Difference Between Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack

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Recently there has been a lot of questions in regard to Cardiac Arrest involving the actual difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack. People commonly ask a similar question whether they are the same thing with merely a different name?

The emergency aid provider who may be performing CPR on a patient may consider it the same. As they try desperately to save the patients life the terms cardiac arrest and heart attack are interchangeable. Often times even the television and newspapers tend to you use the interchangeably as well.

There is in fact a difference in the two and as a first responder or an emergency aid provider it is important understand this, although as long as CPR is started immediately upon the patient at that point in time it doesn’t really matter.

Medically speaking the term heart attack usually signifies to some degree some sort of damage to the heart muscles. Generally, as a result if this flow were to stop a blood clot may commence formation in the arteries leading to the heart. Once the flow of blood has stopped because of the blocked artery the heart muscle itself quickly begins to die. This causes considerable chest pain as well as the associated symptoms that are generally linked to a heart attack.

Cardiac arrest on the other hand occurs when for some unknown reason the heart no longer is able to pump blood for example a lack of blood flow. Since blood is no longer being pumped through the body the patient’s blood pressure falls as the organs are starved for blood. Their heart would then get extremely weak or in some cases it will begin to pump at an increased rate preventing it from any longer filling up with blood. This action causes the blood pressure to fall even more.


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