Sudden death! Cardiac arrest or heart attack… which one to blame?

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a demise that happens out of the blue and is unexpected, to begin with. It normally happens when your heart stops functioning. This particular phenomenon is known as a sudden cardiac arrest. As far as the United States of America (USA) is concerned, SCD happens to be the biggest killer claiming around 325,000 adult lives each year. In fact of all the heart disease-related deaths in a year, it happens to account for 50 percent of the same. It normally happens among people in their mid-30s to mid-40s. Men comprise double the number of cases in this instance than women.

As far as children are concerned, it seems to be a rare phenomenon causing only around a couple of deaths out of 100,000 children each year.

Difference between sudden cardiac arrest node and a heart attack

Medical science makes it very clear that heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac arrest are completely different. Heart attacks happen primarily because of blockage in one or more coronary arteries. This stops your heart from getting blood, which is rich in oxygen. When blood is unable to reach the heart muscle it suffers damage. The longer one remains untreated for such an ailment greater is the damage to the said muscle.

In some cases, the symptoms of heart attack may manifest themselves all of a sudden and could be quite intense as well. However, in most cases, they are seen to reveal themselves slowly and it could be hours, days, or even weeks before the heart attack finally happens. The difference with SCD in these cases is that unlike SCD the heart does not stop beating. However, the symptoms of the heart attack could differ based on your gender.

As opposed to this, a cardiac arrest takes place when there is a malfunction in the electrical system connected to your heart. In these cases, it becomes irregular and the heart starts to beat at a rate that is highly fast for its well being. She or he could feel dizzy as well. In these cases, the ventricles may quiver or flutter, and the body stops receiving blood since the pumping action of the heart has been disrupted. At the start, the main concern in these cases is that the affected person will become unconscious for the simple fact that his brain has stopped receiving blood. If emergency treatment is not started immediately then the person could die as well. Normally, before death, such a person loses her or his pulse as well.

In these cases, emergency treatment is inclusive of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as well as defibrillation. With CPR enough oxygen can be sent to the lungs and it can get to the brain as well. This needs to be done till the person’s normal heart rhythm is brought back. This is normally done through defibrillation whereby an electric shock is administered to the person’s chest. Normally medical professionals working in the emergency sections use public access defibrillators or portable defibrillators. At times, such treatment could help save a person’s life as well.

Confusions regarding these

The confusion regarding these – cardiac arrest and heart attack – happens for the simple reason that people use them interchangeably without knowing the details about the ailments. A heart attack can be regarded more as a problem related to circulation whereas a cardiac arrest is more or less electrical in nature.

Are they connected in any way?

In spite of being so different, they are indeed connected. A person can suffer from a cardiac arrest after a heart attack or even when she or he is recovering from the same.

However, in most cases, heart attacks are not followed by cardiac arrest. However, in most cases of cardiac arrest heart attack is indeed the main cause. There are also several other conditions of the heart that can lead to a disruption of the heart’s rhythm and lead one to suffer from cardiac arrest. Examples of such conditions would include cardiomyopathy, where your heart muscles become thicker, heart failure, long Q-T syndrome, and arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation.

No matter what it is you can always save lives by taking quick action and getting help as soon as you can.

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