Understanding The Difference Between A Heart Attack And Cardiac Arrest

If you are thinking about becoming a trained first responder, then you will learn how to properly complete CPR. It is essential that you learn the appropriate steps of CPR, so you know you are doing it correctly. Before you start learning CPR, understand that there is a distinct difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest and how these different ailments are treated.

Heart Attack 

A heart attack is a serious cardiovascular concern, like cardiac arrest. However, this issue means that the heart is in a state of distress, not that the heart has stopped. A heart attack is caused by the blockage of one of the blood vessels that feed the heart. When an artery is blocked, then the organ does not receive the oxygen it needs, and the muscles are unable to work like they should. 

There are a few different types of heart attacks, based on the severity of the blockage. The most common is called a STEMI where one coronary artery is blocked completely. This prevents oxygen from reaching a portion of the heart's muscle. For example, if the right coronary artery is blocked, then the right ventricle will be oxygen deprived.

STEMI heart attacks are usually the ones that produce pain and require immediate medical attention. While the heart does not stop when a heart attack happens, the condition can progress into a cardiac arrest scenario. For this reason, you need to call 911 as soon as possible. Also, stay will the individual making sure they are in a position where a fall is unlikely. Watch for signs or cardiac arrest which often follows a loss of consciousness.

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops, either from a serious heart attack condition that has progressed or due to an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia that completely disrupts the heart's ability to beat normally with a proper rhythm. 

Individuals who go through cardiac arrest will require lifesaving measures within a short period of time. Otherwise, the organs and tissues of the body will all be oxygen deprived and will soon die. You should contact emergency services right away and also begin CPR. 

If you are trained in the use of an AED, you can use this device to re-establish a strong and normal heart rhythm. Often, AEDs will announce the procedures to use the device. However, individuals who are not trained in their use should not use them. It can be dangerous to use an AED properly.

If you want to know more about heart conditions and the types of responses that are required based on the ailment, speak with a CPR treatment professional.